Barcelona: Xavi wants Al Sadd striker Bounedjah to solve lack of goals
According to reports, Xavi has identified his former Al Sadd striker Baghdad Bounedjah as an affordable answer to Barcelona's lack of firepower.
Xavi Hernández is starting to build a Barcelona squad in his image and is hoping to go back to his former employers Al Sadd to bring one of his ex-players to Camp Nou. According to Catalan daily Sport, the new Barça boss is keen to be reunited with Algerian international Baghdad Bounedjah, who was a prolific performer during Xavi’s time at the Qatar Stars League side and is viewed as an affordable and accessible answer to Barcelona’s problems in front of goal in the absence of Kun Agüero, Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembélé.
Bounedjah, 29, has bagged 169 goals in 165 appearances for Al Sadd since joining from Étoile du Sahel in 2015 and has 17 and five assists in 20 games for the Qatar side so far in the calendar year.
De Jong out of the picture at Barcelona
Luuk de Jong, signed on loan from Sevilla before Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman, has failed to stake his claim for a regular place deputising for Barça’s injury-hit front line and has managed just one goal in nine appearances for Barça this season, which have totalled just 398 minutes of pitch time. Significantly, Xavi preferred to use a 17-year-old academy player, Ilias, against Espanyol as De Jong remained on the bench.
Bounedjah has never played in Europe, previously turning out for RCG Oran and USM El Harrach in his native Algeria and Étoile in Tunisia before moving to Qatar. However, he is well known to Xavi and a trusted lieutenant of the Barça boss, as well as having knocked in 22 goals in 46 games for Algeria.