Sergio Busquets was always going to leave Barcelona. The Catalan hero is now 36, and having won La Liga for the ninth time in 2022-23, can now depart Camp Nou with one last winners' medal in his pocket.
But his departure, expected that it was, still leaves Barca with a problem. Busquets is, in effect, irreplacable. He made popular a position that every team seems to covet — the very blueprint of the modern No.6. There is no one quite like him. But there are some basic principles to his game: Busquets has an excellent spacial awareness, is an impressive passer on the turn, and can expertly kill the game with tackles and tactical fouls. That is a very rare combination of skills.
That doesn't mean there are no options to replace him, though. The Blaugrana will have some money to play with, and there are a range of players who can either come close to Busquets' skill set, or even offer something a little bit different.
The bad news is that one of the primary options now seems to be off the table. Barcelona have been after Ruben Neves for some time, but the Wolves midfielder appears to be on the verge of signing a massive contract with Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal.
It leaves the Blaugrana having to look elsewhere, so here's who Barcelona could target to replace one of their club legends...