Barcelona have extended the contract of Nico Gonzalez, loaning the midfielder to Valencia

Barcelona have extended the contract of Nico Gonzalez, loaning the midfielder to Valencia

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona said Saturday that Nico Gonzalez has agreed to a contract extension, but that the promising midfielder will play on loan at Valencia this season as he is guaranteed playing time.

Nico, 20, has agreed to add two years to his contract and is now tied to Barcelona until 2026 with a new €1 billion ($1 billion) buyout clause.

Nico enjoyed a breakout season under former coach Ronald Koeman at the start of last season, but his playing time dried up after Xavi Hernandez took over as coach midway through the campaign.

Xavi said on Friday that he wanted Nico to stay, but the player has asked for a loan to play more.

Nico’s move to Valencia leaves Xavi without a player who should be a long-term replacement for veteran midfielder Sergio Busquets.

Barcelona said the season-long loan deal did not include a purchase option for Valencia.

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