Will Xavi Be NYCFC’s Third Designated Player?

In a move that New York City fans thought was all but doomed when the Spaniard committed his future to FC Barcelona, Xavi’s long-speculated switch to New York City seems likely once again. According to Cadena SER in Spain, the time-served midfield anchor will soon ply his trade outside the safety of the Nou Camp walls, in New York City.

From what I could decipher using my entry-level Spanish class knowledge, the news network reports that Xavi ‘will join NYCFC in 2016’, at the beginning of the next MLS season. So, although the star won’t take part in New York City FC’s inaugural season delirium, there will be few who’d turn their nose up at the move otherwise.

With New York City still reserving a seat for a final Designated Player in their roster, and the squad itself still with room for improvement, it’s certainly plausible from New York’s end. What about from the Spanish side of the equation?

Xavi certainly hasn’t been cast out of Barcelona’s team sheet. For the past three seasons (all of which came after his 30th birthday remember), Xavi has featured 30+ times for the Catalan side, and with 18 games this season, it doesn’t look like a whole lot’s going to change anytime soon… not if it’s up to Luis Enrique, at least.

However, Xavi, at the ripe old footballing age of 36, may feel a step down in the intensity of his football is in order, given how demanding a week-in-week-out schedule is with a team challenging for almost every cup that’s up for the taking. When the centre midfielder retired from international football, many viewed it as his first step to the falling of the curtain of Xavi’s career, and, with a move to the MLS, he could be seen to taking the final step into the abyss of retirement.

MLS is widely seen as a sort of pension scheme for the footballing powerhouses of Europe; a chance for the likes of David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry to live out the last days of their playing career at a high level. It won’t necessarily be unheard of if a big name like Xavi were to move to North America, and the league certainly offers many benefits to those who choose to up and move there.

Generous salaries, a good location, a cushy place in a top team. Although he doesn’t look quite ready to hang up his boots and settle into what we can only expect to be a coaching job at FC Barcelona, Xavi is well aware that he isn’t getting any younger, and plays a continually less advanced role for the blaugrana every year.

An MLS deal is for, all intents and purposes, a win-win for the Spaniard. He gets to bow out of his playing career at a high yet less strenuous level and he’ll receive as good treatment as any in the league. However, it’s still to be confirmed whether Xavi would leave his club of 23 years to do so. So more of a win-win-lose.

As for New York City, they’d certainly find room for him in the side. A three man central midfield with Lampard, Mix and Xavi would undoubtedly be the best in MLS history. There’s no problem in that regard; New York would do everything in their power to link up Xavi and his ex-Barca team mate David Villa. In 2016 Jason Kreis could have Xavi anchoring the midfield and defense, with Mix and Lampard playing further upfield, supporting the wingers and striker, a mouth-watering prospect.

With recent reports stating that New York City did try to sign Xavi in the summer, and that he was tempted, makes this new information all the more credible.

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