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Report: NYCFC eyeing Xavi as potential DP signing

Xavi Barcelona (FC Barcelona)


New York City FC head coach Jason Kreis said earlier this week that he intends to have three Designated Players on his team when it starts playing in MLS next year.

We now know who one of them might be.

According to a report from the Telegraph, NYCFC are looking into the possibility of making star Barcelona midfielder Xavi their marquee signing ahead of the 2015 MLS season. Xavi will 35 years-old by then and will have one year remaining on his Barcelona contract, but officials from Premiership side Manchester City, which partly own NYCFC, have reportedly expressed a strong interest in acquiring the Spanish national team midfielder for the MLS club.

Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano know Xavi from their days at Barcelona and see him as the perfect player to help NYCFC make a splash in their inaugural MLS season.

It is believed that Barcelona would allow Xavi to leave on a free transfer next year if he made it clear he wanted to join NYCFC. Xavi currently earns an estimated $11.49 million.

A World Cup and Champions League winner, Xavi is considered one of the best midfielders in soccer today. He is technically-gifted, smooth on the ball and deadly accurate with his passing.


What do you think of NYCFC targeting Xavi? Hope they land him? Would you prefer to see them signing someone younger?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Thierry Henry has denied reports tying him to MLS side New York Red Bulls.

    As reported by AS, Barcelona’s Thierry Henry has rejected claims that he has reached a pre-contractual agreement with United States MLS team New York Red Bulls as had been reported last week.

    The Frenchman has declared that his future plans are limited to this summer’s World Cup in South Africa and that there is nothing substantive in the reports tying him to America.

    “For the moment, nothing is certain. I am a Barcelona player and have another year left on my contract”, said ‘Titi’.

    “Currently, my only worry is preparing for the World Cup with France. I will have time to reflect on my future later.”

  2. Lots of comments, but just a few things that are really bottom-line, black & white issues….

    *NYFC is largely doing this in order to put fans in their new $400 mil staium in the Bronx, that’s it! Plain and simple, regardless of whether he can or cannot still play at a world class level (AND HE CAN!!) this move will make a splash and get those who do love the sport yet refuse to go and watch MLS matches very often to the stadium. That is a fact! Then on top of it being in the massive market that is NYC. Think of all the kids who play in that city, all the adults, all the minorities and ethnicities that make up NYC and this move makes entirely too much sense. Never mind the fact that he isn’t the Becks, CR7 type of name, no mistake that football fans in a ravenous sports city will flock to see him.

    *To those naysayers who think that this is a backwards or negative move for the MLS, that is beyond absurd. The league will continue to grow, as it has been for 15+ years now, whether or not Xavi decides to come to the MLS or not. We are past the point of “having” to get these famous names in order to be deemed a success or headed in the right direction. MLS ha a lot to learn and change still but has done well in its fledgling years in order to put the MLS in a position to rival the NHL and NBA. It is literally only a matter of time before it will compete (possibly overtake) the other two sports.

    *Lastly, it is completely asinine to think that Xavi has very little to give or very little left if he were to move over here at whatever age he may be. He presence in and within the team alone will work wonders off the field not to mention on the field as well. These younger players you all worry about losing a spot due to Xavi’s arrival, well just think of the learning potential that he will afford them by training with them everyday. He will undoubtedly come to the MLS and be arguably the best the league has ever seen. He is on a whole separate level than any MLS player past/present has ever seen and there’s no argument there. Just as Defoe will be with Toronto, regardless of Defoe’s form or age or whatever common denominator you want to use he will be the leagues leading scorer next season, probably by a mile and within his time here will dethrone Roy Lassiter’s single season goal mark (27). These players are just on different levels………

  3. This would be a solid deal. Much like Pirlo, Xavi’s skill set will allow him to play at a very high level into his late 30’s. Sign him to a 3 year contract and let him work his magic. NYCFC will have to fork over the cash though…

  4. Getting Xavi would be great for the present, but for the future, we need to continue to grow our youth and encourage the youth on our side of the world to stay in our leagues. We also need to expand our Champions League to South America. Players want the glory. That includes money, but also includes, history, trophies and access to the biggest games in the world. The only way to do that is to make our Champions League bigger and better and start signing the young guns from South America.

      • Because both of these tournaments cant compete with the Champions League in Europe, on their own. On top of that, South American teams would want the exposure in the US. Can you imagine a tournament with North Americas best and South Americas best. It would be a much more exciting tournament to watch and it would create something to tell players here…”you don’t have to go to Europe to play in a big tournament.” Develop Youth players and establish better games/tournaments here are the top 2 priorities for American soccer.

  5. I like getting Xavi for 3 years even at 35 years old, but I’d love for them to really go for young starlets that are at the U-19; U-20 level much like Denmark/Holland does, and filters them with older domestic players, or players from that region. But I think one thing makes the MLS boom in the United States: If the US goes to the quarterfinal in 2014 with 75% of the players on their way to the MLS or in the MLS. Think of who will be starting in Brazil:

    MLS Players: Dempsey, Donovon, Bradley, Gonzo, Besler, EJ, Zusi
    Players that could very well get transferred to MLS: Jones, Howard, Diskerud, Jozy, Terrance Boyd (Would give him a DP spot immediately–NYCFC), Bedoya (Would give him a DP Spot too)
    Players that will stay abroad: Jozy (I know he is listed twice), Klejstan, Cameron, Diskerud (I know again), Aron, Terrance Boyd, and Bedoya

    • If dreams tonight night about trying to combine with MLS players (instead of the phenomenal talents at Barca), he’ll wake up tomorrow in a cold sweat.

  6. His relationship with txiki gives nycfc the leg up. All xavi has to do is watch some tape of a Kries team play and a red bulls team play and he’ll see that Kries coaches the tactics that he thrives in.

    • This. As much Petke has done an awesome job with RBNY and deserves all the credit in the world, Kreis >>>>>>>> Petke in terms of tactical acumen, and Xavi would see this.

  7. Wow Xavi at 35 sounds like a risk but most if the time Xavi type of players don’t run a lot and just pass the ball like a robot in the middle of the field like a true number 10. Xavi is like a cautechmoc blanco, seedorf, nesta, zidane, makele, which the older they get, they just pass and pass and protect the ball.
    Another thing, by 2015 I think Christians Ronaldo will be open for MLS if the right money comes. Will galaxy or nycfc get him or even Miami in 2016.
    At the end of the day, nycfc will have a buffet of dps to select from because MLS teams don’t open their wallets. So sad so true, look at salt lake, San Jose, crew, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Philly, Chicago, dc.

    • You act like we don’t have pockets the size of airbags out here. NYCFC isn”t the only team that can sign DPs all of a sudden.

  8. “The Telegraph”

    Why are we even talking about this. And why does Ives report it when he’s linked to NYCFC in one article but to RBNY in 4 other articles.

    • I was honestly thinking the same thing. I’m sure Xavi isn’t gonna choose to play for a club with sh*t fans, no ground, no training facility – when he can come play for a big club with a great stadium, great support, and excellent facilities in RBNY.

  9. He is exactly the kind of player Jason would love to have because he coaches the passing game that Barca is famous for. All I can say is I would go see him. He is one of my favorite players ever!

  10. Frank, originally reported NYRB were the team interested in signing Xavi. Curious what makes that article and the subsequent underground buzz not worth an SBI posting, or even worth mentioning in this post, but a Telegraph article is enough (assuming you can share). Thanks.


    I Wish ARSENAL would partner with Sir Arthur and the ATL Organization to give some “Atlanta RSNL” love! I have been mocking up crest and kits since I started following soccer (’06) and would love to have some of that organizations mark on the future A-Town franchise.

  12. Great player and all, but I don’t see anything aside from “marquee” value in such a signing. One of the other two DPs had better be Iniesta-esque for this to translate into a good on-field product. Even then, that kind of money would be better spent on younger players with upside.

  13. If MLS wants to build it’s brand as a retirement league, go for it. Personally, I am against signing 33+ year old players into the league. If Xavi wants to come to MLS after Barcelona, sign him as a technical director or coach.

    • Retirement league?

      Xavi was just in the FIFA World XI in 2013. He would be the greatest player to ever set foot in MLS by such a long margin.

    • Easy on the automatic “retirement league” talk as soon as a 33+ year old player is mentioned. This is Xavi we are talking about!!!

      This could be great but would need 2 other midfield dp’s that work with him. I dont think Xavi would enjoy playing in a lot of MLS midfields right now. That said a Kreis built team could be the one.

  14. I don’t think he would be protected. I don’t think they could protect him. In La Liga, he can just be a passing hub, avoid players by getting the ball off his feet to the right person. In MLS midfields, they’re going to get to him, and do nothing else.

  15. but will this put butts in the seat>

    how much would it cost for Red Bulls or Galaxy to land Ronaldo in 2015? He’ll be 30 but talent to still be supreme until 35.

  16. Great player but wonder if he would be able to adapt to the physicality of MLS at that age? Could be a chance of a big money signing that only plays a handful of games due to injuries.

    • Adapting to the physical play shouldn’t be a big concern – Xavi did fine against EPL teams – the real challenge would be to find players with high socccer IQ to take full advantage of Xavi’s talents.

      • I think we could expect at least the two other DPs to hang with xavi. Can we expect domestic players to compliment his talent? Not so sure. It’s clear that this team really expects to win in year one.

      • 5’7 and sexy passes won’t save him in this league. I can already picture a frustrated Ricardo Clark on a hot summer afternoon in Houston being completely out played in every way imaginable by a 35 year old Xavi. European players used to being protected don’t last in MLS, remember Fredrik Ljungberg.

      • Comparing Xavi to Ljungberg is silly. One was a wide player who used his legs to his advantage, while the other is quite simply the best central midfielder of his generation and possibly of all time.

        I feel like some of you don’t watch Xavi play. He’s a complete player. Goals, assists, position, vision, tracking, pressure. There isn’t a single thing outside of heading he doesn’t excel at, playing for the top club in the world while doing it in his mid 30s. And some of you think it would be something other than good for MLS if he came here? Yikes.

      • I understand Xavi is the best thing since sliced bread I never doubted his talents but bring if there is any truth to Xavi coming to MLS he better come with an on field body guard too ..Yaya Toure will work just fine.

      • Ljungberg was really already done as a player when he came to Seattle. Xavi, who’s about 10 times the player Lunjgberg ever was, might also be in a year but he still looks good to me.

    • More important, how would Xavi feel passing the ball to a some guys recently out of college making 100K a year. I bet he would get so frustrated that he’d smack his own players in practice.

      Remember, he’s been nowhere else but Barcelona. He’s not dropping dimes to Messi and Iniesta here, try more like Johnny Steele and Lloyd Sam (just using the Red Bulls as an example of MLS players on non-DP contracts).

    • All good points, but still besides the fact he comes from Barcelona and a league where “diving” is common (not saying it isn’t in MLS as it happens as well) and players don’t take too many hits like they do in MLS. Also, he will be 35 and has already battled some injuries. Of course he has played against EPL competition but he didn’t do that weekly. He’s an absolute great player but will not have the same system as Barcelona. In MLS, central midfielders have to take the hits.

  17. Is it me, or is MLS slowly shifting to the NASL business model…

    I’m OK with these moves with a better TV deal in place and better salary for the rank and file players.

    • wasn;t that the earlier criticism but then again with the recent Dempsey-Bradley deal, it seems like some teams are going to drop 20-50 million on players to get some wins.

      SALARY CAP needs to be raised to 4 million for 2015 and to 5 million by 2020. Take a chance

      • Dude, that’s barely any raise at all. MLS needs to go to more like $5-6 million in 2015 and raise it by at least 10% each year until the CBA is up. To catch up to the rest of the world we have to advance our pay scale faster than inflation grows(~3% every year). 10% would bring us to $8-10 million by 2020. It’s not an unreasonable number to increase by 10% either. Its only adding on 500k-1m each year in salaries. The other 4 major sports would scoff at that.

      • I totally agree. It would help considering we’re set to have 24 teams by 2020. But MLS will have a heartattack.

        But you’re so right. Need to take a chance immediately. Right when the league has the momentum and the PRESS of the world looking at us.

      • MLS’s problem with escalating salaries the way you advocate is just a tiny one, really. Namely, the destruction of the league. MLS TV ratings are WRETCHED. They in the toilet. Most MLS teams struggle to get actual attendance into five figures. The money ain’t there for the kind of payscale you envision.

      • TV ratings are “wretched” but they just got a TV deal that is worth 52 million more PER YEAR.

        As for “most MLS teams struggling to get 10k attendance” That’s just an ignorant comment. There is only one team that struggles for that(Chivas). Almost every other team is comfortably above 15k and growing every year.

      • you can bank on the cap being around $7M-$10M by 2020. there would be no destruction of the league if the current trend continues.

        yes, the TV ratings are AWFUL. embarrassingly awful. yet, they are about to sign a new deal for $70M a year, up from $27M a year. despite ratings being down. sure, some of that has to do with the fact that MLS and US games are being bundled, but it still says something.

        further, you are completely forgetting the Spanish rights which bring in a good amount of money. the $70M does not include Spanish or Canadian rights.

        “If the new annual rights fee really does end up at $70 million, that would give each MLS team in a 21-team league (as will be the case in 2015) up to 3.3 million per year. When MLS’ expansion wave finishes at 24 teams, each team will get up to 2.9 million per year.”

        the TV revenue alone for each team will match the current cap as it is now. so yes, the money IS there. although, one caveat is it sounds like MLS will sign an 8 year deal which i think is way too long. i think in 3-4 years they could get an even bigger deal. but we’ll see what the specifics are once the deal is announced.

        “Most MLS teams struggle to get actual attendance into five figures.” – that’s just not even true. even teams like NE (~15k) and Dallas (15.3k) had increased attendance. DCU (~13k) and Chivas (~8k) were the real disappointments. the other teams to have a negative percentage change from 2012:

        Chicago – still had over 15k on average
        Houston – still had 20k on average
        LA – still had ~22k on average
        Montreal – still had 21k on average
        Philly – still had ~18k on average
        San Jose – ~13k but they have a temporary stadium that only sits 10k to begin with!
        Toronto – still ~18k on average

        if you remove Chivas USA from the average MLS attendance, it’s over 19,000 and sets a new record.

        so, while i do agree MLS needs to continue to be careful (which i think they are), i think you are spewing hyperbole when saying it’ll be the “destruction of the league” to raise the cap to what Andrew suggests.

      • Letting the tail wag the dog on salaries is the epitome of NASL-redux arrogance. The league is barely profitable. You don’t let the few profitable teams drive the salary structure or it either (a) spirals ever upward and out of control or (b) tiers the league into Big Clubs and Cannon Fodder like every Euro-league people like to imitate.

        I think what you’re seeing is that if they are willing to pay transfer fees to get players immediately and DP salaries are both off books and unlimited, then the Beckham exception eats the rule. For those three players sky = limit.

        If the real economics versus paychecks issue gets out of hand we might be back to folded franchises or worse. NASL remains instructive just as it is for expansion.

      • I’m actually someone who thinks the DP rule needs to be done away with soon(Probably after 24 teams in 2020). After that I’d like to see us go to a system more like baseball where teams can spend up to a certain point and have a stiff luxury tax after that.


        I also wouldn’t mind a system of keeping the DPs with this one little change. Change the system to allow 3(or 4) foreign DPs and 3(or2) American/Canadian DPs. and just up the salary cap a bit.

        The league is clearly having a problem with allowing teams to keep their best players. So some sort of sizeable salary increase needs to happen.

      • I think I’m pretty much picking up what you’re putting down. I wouldn’t mind some type of floor/ceiling mechanism be put in place versus the CAP + DP structure we’re working with currently. Teams like Seattle, Toronto, NYRB, LAG and NYFC have the financial wherewithal and desire to invest $20 mln or so in players’ salaries, so just let them. I love the recent Bradley, Demsey, and Dafoe signings, but I think those teams and the league in general would be better if they were able to spend those funds how they saw fit.

        On the flip side, I’d also institute a floor for the smaller market clubs. With the new TV Deal, I’d love to see that minimum at $5 mln or so, but I think I’d settle for $4 mln with an annual kicker greater than inflation.

        That said, I kind of doubt we’ll see MLS move away from the CAP + DP format, at least not with the upcoming CBA. Obviously, if the league does stick with the current framework I really want to see a substantial increase in CAP. However, I’d like to see some other changes as well.

        First, I think the league needs to loosen the reigns further on the salary limitations currently in place for homegrown signings. Right now only a couple of generation adidas level homegrown players can be on the roster at any given time. That really doesn’t make much sense to me. IMO, the league should be doing everything it can to encourage and facilitate the develop of young American/Canadian talent. It makes no sense for clubs to spend the time and money necessary to develop a player only to have a team from the FMF, Scandanavia or some other league come in and grab the player when it comes time to sign because the team is unable to offer a competitive salary.

        Second, transfer fees shouldn’t count against the salary cap or drive a player to DP status. I understand wanting to limit transfer fees somewhat and not allow teams to go absolutely hog wild, but transfer fees are a reality. With the signing of Martins, Dempsey, Dafoe and Bradley the league seems to have turned a corner on this subject somewhat. However, that newfound willingness to pay transfer fees needs to trickle down from the DPs to the rest of the roster. A transfer fee should be treated as a capital expenditure necessary to acquire an asset. Teams like Houston and Portland may not be able to go toe to toe with the likes of the Galaxy or NYFC in spending, but if they invest in scouting, facilities and player development and make savvy acquisitions there are enough buy low opportunities throughout the Americas for the acquisition and sale of young talent to become a major net revenue generator for MLS sides. I’d love to see the league institute a sliding transfer cap (based on league finish and with DP transfer fees held seperate) similar to what MLB has in place for IFAs.

      • not sure about this… if you did away with the DP rule right now and enforced the luxury tax, LA, NY, Seattle and probably now TFC could get hit really hard and I would think it would make it less likely they’d make any more of those signings. The DP rule right now is good as the individual owners are on the hook for the amount that goes above and beyond what the league counts toward the cap.

    • Yes, you’re right. It is a slow shift in that direction. Nice and slow. Not violent and fast, but slow and steady. I am more concerned about the fairly quick influx of teams to the American soccer landscape than the DP signings, tbh, and I’m not very concerned by either.

      • TBH the dip in depth due to expansion is a temporary thing; it was temporary in Baseball when they expanded; it has been temporary in MLS as it has been expanding. Not a reason to not expand in my book.

  18. As much as I respect Xavi and I still think he will be class still at that point. If your going to spend that kind of money why not get a younger superstar as a DP if they want to come.

      • because the older dude has a couple years maybe and no resale value, while the younger is a long term option with the ability to be resold at some point at a good price.

      • Because you can’t know that til he plays here. Lothar Matthaus QED.

        Because your Best Case might be a Djorkaeff, one good year and then downhill and you’re back shopping. Short window for success.

        Because if the trend on DPs is going younger and more expensive you might be less competitive. Schelotto is the one older playmaker I know of to win a title. Valderrama stood around and made gorgeous passes (while playing no defense) for a few years and nothing to show for it.

      • Xavi would be the most skilled player ever to play in MLS, without question. His style of play is one that doesn’t need great pace or tenacity, and IF he’s healthy there’s no reason why he couldn’t play, and be the best player in the league for 3-4 years.

        Yes, 3 years is a short time period, but also is the most important years for a new franchise. Immediate success (ie playoffs) and sex appeal is more important in the long term than a good, but not great, 28 year old DP than who’s transfer fee can be partially recouped 5 years later.

      • If you’re buying anyone in or near their 30s the notion of recoupment through future transfer is a poor bet. Those notions are best reserved for people brought in from youth NT and college. Primarily American although with the odd Montero mixed in.

        We should also be focused on the players as ends in themselves. Houston lavished attention for years on an eroding Ching but its best player is Boniek, the young foreign acquisition. To me it matters whether Xavi if he comes ends up more the Ching or Djorkaeff end or on the Boniek end. Does he provide quality that can be built around.

        Beckham came dangerously close to being an Old Man Player flop, Djorkaeff gave one good year, Valderrama never quite got there. I know Xavi can pass but this is not La Liga, he will get tackled every game, is he mobile enough, is he durable enough.

      • There is no doubt he is an excellent player but he is already on a down swing in performance. Also, he is still good because he has the proper teammates to help him distribute. Who is going to partner with him?

      • It matters because its he’ll be old damaged goods by then with very few miles left in him. If we want to improve and grow as a league we need to get players that are Bradley’s age to come to MLS. If not we’ll only be know as a retirement league.

    • highly doubt he would get $11.5M, but Xavi is one of the best midfielders to ever play the game. seems like a great pickup for NYCFC in their first year.

      i still don’t understand why the Xavi to NYRB story wasn’t picked up here but this one was…especially when both are said to have no truth. and that, according to @Barcastuff, NYRB has actually made an offer.

    • What young superstar is all that interested in coming to MLS? Michael Bradley is a great player, but certainly is not a superstar (globally), and if he wasn’t American he wouldn’t be joining MLS.

      MLS can’t attract household name non-American players in their 20’s at this point. They’re good at getting young Latin American players and older Europeans. If I were starting a franchise, I’d much rather have a world class player to fill the seats for a few years, than a good 27 year old whom only avid soccer fans know.

      • I think having marquee names, preferably not too far past their prime, is important for MLS to gain viewership. However from a quality product standpoint I think having 3 DP players the level of Valerie, Higuaine, Boniek Garcia, or Gonzalez is more important. I bang this gong all the time but I wish the league would add 2 DP slots for guys of that caliber (sub-800K salary type DPs). However if every team in MLS was running around with a team full of those level players TV viewership would still struggle (though improving) simply because the names wouldn’t be there.

    • I think his age poses a challenge and his appeal would be to sophisticates. He might be part of being taken seriously and selling the idea the team is staffed well so sophisticates buy season tickets, but he is not a Beckham soccer player — slash — sex symbol who will drive enormous ticket sales for both sexes. He’s really more of a Schelotto pick, you think he can tableset for a team with immediate designs on success.

      If you want people coming out in droves it needs to be a soccer name like Messi everyone knows or someone with crossover appeal like Cristiano Ronaldo, who is this era’s media star that sophisticates and rubes, men and women alike would pay to see.

      Much of anyone else, including Xavi, I think there’s a question whether economics align with salary. TFC is trying to buy back their fanbase’s interest and has deep pockets to fund it without heed to balancing some budget. But if everyone tries to keep up I worry about sustainability and solvency. There’s a reason we moved for a period from initial fudging of the cap to a harder cap. But with DPs the cap is being pressurized again. It may create some growth but the question is, particularly with an older player whom only sophisticates may appreciate, whether the economics balance out.

      • i agree that i wouldn’t go as far as saying he is a Beckham/Messi/CR type signing, but he is much bigger than Schelotto. seriously, you really think he is equivalent to Schelotto?

        also, it’s not 2007 anymore. this is a plan for a team starting in 2015 and soccer truly is more popular now than back then. especially big European teams because we now get to watch them on a regular basis without having to pay for Setanta Sports or strictly streaming from websites that are bound to give you a virus.

        i think Xavi would have a massive impact for NYCFC. i agree that he won’t have the brand appeal of those top-end guys like Beckham, Messi, or CR, but he will certainly have a big impact. certainly MUCH bigger than Schelotto.

      • I think at his future age his value is as a Schelotto type player who would playmake and occasionally score, and will not be depended on to play two ways. Someone else would need to produce the goals. You’d probably need another big name to do that.

        That is actually decent praise because Schelotto turned the Crew into a winner. Gomez once had DC playing well, leading as a #10. If you’re wanting someone who will routinely create goals for themselves keep shopping, get Messi’s cell.

      • maybe i misunderstood what you were saying. i thought you were saying Xavi’s off-field impact would equate to Schelotto’s, and that i vehemently disagree with. Xavi jerseys would be flying off the racks.

        on the field, i do see your point. but he is a #8 in the traditional model. i have no doubt he could create plenty of goals for what will likely be a top-end striker to finish. he only scored 5 goals for Barca last season, so i wouldn’t expect him to change his game that much for NYCFC. NYCFC probably already has been on touch with multiple top end strikers.

        i’ve always said NYCFC will likely go after Robinho and Xabi Alonso. add in Xavi and that is a solid spine.

    • It;s the BOS factor (butts-on-seats) A younger unknown maybe could do the job better and cheaper, but he wouldn’t attract a person who would want to see a legend play and at the end of the day, you want to get the fans at the ballpark, buying stuff watching a great player.

    • but NYCFC has to make a splash from the start, they dont even have a fanbase yet that I can tell. Xavi for a couple of years would definitely help with that

    • Or, why not get a more famous name like Messi, or even Maradona or Pele?

      …if they want to come, and can still run a few yards….


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