Xavi Hernandez said Sergino Dest “knows what the situation is” as Barcelona put pressure on the United States defender to leave the club before the transfer window closes.
Barca need to raise funds and reduce their wage bill to be able to register €55 million summer signing Jules Kounde, and Dest is one of the players they have decided they can afford to lose.
“Being honest, we wanted to sign Cesar Azpilicueta [from Chelsea] and we couldn’t, so that’s the situation,” Xavi said in a news conference on Saturday when asked about the right-back position.
“But we do have players to provide cover there. Ronald [Araujo] did well there last weekend, Sergi Roberto can play there and [Kounde] can as well in case of an emergency.”
Asked if Dest also remains an option, Xavi added: “He knows what the situation is.”
ESPN reported on Friday that Xavi spoke with Dest earlier in the week and told him he should look for a new club because he is no longer part of his plans for the season.
Dest, 21, prefers to stay at Camp Nou but is coming under intense pressure to agree to a transfer to help Barca register Kounde and, if possible, strengthen in other positions as well.
Barca had told Dest earlier in the summer they wanted him to stay because of his ability to also cover at left-back, but their financial position has forced them to change their stance.
But with just over a week to go in the transfer window, the number of potential suitors for Dest has reduced, with Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid already investing in right-backs this summer.
Chelsea’s previous interest appears to have cooled, too, but Manchester United, coached by Dest’s former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, could offer the U.S. international a path out of Barca.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Memphis Depay are two other players Barca could move on in the coming days to help create space within their spending limit.
Xavi said both will be available for Sunday’s trip to Real Sociedad, but didn’t close the door on them leaving, with Chelsea negotiating for Aubameyang and Juventus keen on Memphis.
“The transfer window is open until [Sept. 1] and we don’t know what will happen,” Xavi added. “At the moment, [Aubameyang] is our player and I am counting on him. For me, he’s an important player, but we will see what happens.
“For now, neither [Aubameyang nor Memphis] has left. If there’s an offer for one of them, we will see how the squad is and decide what to do.”
Sources have told ESPN that talks between Chelsea and Barca over Aubameyang are progressing. However, despite their interest in Marcos Alonso, Barca don’t want the left-back to be included in the deal and will demand cash only.
There’s an expectation that a middle ground could be struck at around €25m, while Barca would move for Alonso in a separate deal once they are sure they can register him.
That is far from a certainty, though, with Kounde set to miss a second game this season as a result of Barca being unable to register him with LaLiga yet.
“We’re waiting to see,” Xavi said of Kounde’s availability this weekend. “It’s all on standby. There is no news. We need to move players on [to be able to register him].”
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