Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez reportedly asked two of his players to seduce star signing Ilkay Gundogan with the prospect of playing for the club.
Gundogan was out of contract this summer, and available on a free for Barcelona, but they did have to attract the German veteran ahead of other others. Not least that of former club Manchester City.
The 32-year-old was initially not considered by City for renewal, but in the final months of the season, they pushed hard for his signature. Bar Canaletes detail that Xavi had been in contact over WhatsApp with Gundogan for some months in an attempt to court him, while former Sporting Director Jordi Cruyff also met with him on occasion in Manchester.
Seemingly Gundogan was close to renewing with City, but asked for a period of reflection in order to make up his mind after they secured the Champions League. This was thought to be decisive, as well as the fact that he had achieved all he could with the club.
However Xavi, seeing the opportunity, asked Marc-Andre ter Stegen to speak to Gundogan about a move while on Germany duty with him. Equally, he also asked Gundogan’s former Borussia Dortmund teammate Robert Lewandowski to encourage a move too.
Clearly this move paid dividends, with Gundogan opting to sign for Barcelona shortly after the international break. Xavi has taken a very active role in Barcelona’s recruitment efforts over the past 18 months, often getting in touch with potential signings personally in order to explain his vision for them, something which has helped secure Barcelona several signatures, including that of Lewandowski. Now it appears he is pulling out all the stops.