Denis Zakaria has reportedly taken a final call on his future and prefers joining Barcelona instead of Real Madrid as a free agent next summer.

According to a report by Catalan outlet El Nacional, Real Madrid and several other suitors have been handed a major blow in pursuit of Denis Zakaria. The Swiss midfielder favours joining Barcelona instead of the other clubs tailing him if he leaves Borussia Monchengladbach as a free agent in next summer’s transfer window.

Denis Zakaria joined Borussia Monchengladbach from BSC Young Boys in June 2017 and has since blossomed into a solid holding midfielder. In the last four years, the Swiss international has been a mainstay in the middle of the park for club and country, while his comeback from a long-term knee injury has also been worth praising.

To date, the 24-year-old has made 138 appearances for Gladbach, chipping in with 11 goals and eight assists in the process. However, the Bundesliga outfit is in a precarious position over his long-term future because Zakaria is in the final year of his current contract. Such a situation has alerted Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The interest from Barcelona is understandable, considering Sergio Busquets is in the twilight of his storied career. With Miralem Pjanic not having much of a future at Camp Nou, the Catalan giants need to sign a long-term solution for the defensive midfield slot, making Zakaria a viable target.

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On the other hand, the links with Real Madrid first popped up in August, and the Merengues have continued to monitor the Swiss midfielder’s situation at Borussia Monchengladbach closely. Like their bitter rivals, Los Blancos also need to sign a holding midfielder as Casemiro edges towards his thirties.

There have even been suggestions that Casemiro could be on his way out of Real Madrid, which would prompt the Spanish giants to be on the lookout for a midfield reinforcement. However, Real Madrid face an uphill task in pursuit of Zakaria, who prefers joining Barcelona instead.

Such a development has also come as a blow for other prospective suitors, and it will be interesting to see if Real Madrid and the rest of the chasing pack can do anything to turn Zakaria’s head. For now, the 24-year-old is determined to join Barcelona if he runs down his Gladbach deal, as the idea of playing under Xavi attracts him.

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