Xavi Claims Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang & Sadio Mané Would Struggle to Adapt to Barcelona's Style

Xavier Hernandez
Al-Sadd Sports Club v Esperance Sportive de Tunis - FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 | Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has claimed that Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Liverpool's Sadio Mané would struggle to adapt to the Catalan giant's style of play - despite the fact they can 'kill you' in open space.

Aubameyang and Mané have established themselves as two of the most deadly forwards in the Premier League, with the pair sharing the 2018/19 Golden Boot award along with Mohamed Salah after netting 22 league goals.

FBL-CAF-GHANA-AWARDS
FBL-CAF-GHANA-AWARDS | CRISTINA ALDEHUELA/Getty Images

This season, Aubameyang grabbed 20 goals in all competitions before play was halted due to coronavirus, compared to Mané's 18. While the Arsenal man is regarded as a striker and is prolific in front of goal while operating as the centre forward, he has often been asked to operate as a left-winger in 2019/20, similar to Mané's role.

Both Aubameyang and Mané are consistently linked with moves away from their current clubs - although it is the former's future which has been the topic of much discussion in recent times, with his contract due to expire next summer.

Providing his take on transfer targets, former Barça midfielder Xavi has now warned the club against pursuing either player as, despite their obvious talent, he claims they wouldn't fit into Quique Setién's style of play.

"Mané and Aubameyang can kill you in open space. But Barcelona need players who know how to move in small spaces," Xavi said, as quoted by the Mirror.

"I am thinking about players who would adapt to Barcelona and it’s not easy to find one. Samuel Eto’o was perfect, as is Luis Suarez right now."

Neymar
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Instead, the Spaniard believes former star man Neymar would be the right player to target, while the Al-Sadd boss added that he 'hopes' the move happens. Xavi continued: "Football-wise, he is among the three or five best in the world. I hope that he returns to Barcelona. He would add a lot.

"A positive character. It would be an extraordinary signing to become a difference-maker."

Barça have been keen on Inter's Lautaro Martinez for some time, and a source confirmed to 90min that the club are confident an agreement to sign the Argentine is all but finalised.