The Catalan club have set their sights on the 27-year-old Frenchman, who has taken a step up since the arrival of Jorge Sampaoli, but the Andalusians do not want to sell. Barcelona are seeking a player as back-up for Sergio
Busquets and the Catalans have identified Sevilla’s Steven N’Zonzi as a transfer target.
The French midfielder has impressed at the Sanchez Pizjuan following a slow start and is wanted by the Camp Nou
club. The Andalusians, however, are loath to let him leave.
N’Zonzi spent six seasons in England, three with Blackburn Rovers and another three at Stoke City. In the Premier League, he was considered an effective player but not one who would end up being scouted by Europe’s top clubs. At Sevilla, however, he has taken a step up and Barca’s interest is real.
The Frenchman’s former manager at Stoke, Mark Hughes, did not want the midfielder to leave. But N’Zonzi was keen to move to Sevilla and he himself put pressure on his club to swap the Premier League for LaLiga in the summer of 2015.
His first few weeks in Seville were difficult. A bout of salmonella saw him sidelined for six weeks, while he
also lost nine kilos and missed the UEFA Super Cup clash against Barcelona at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. And months later, he would also sit out the Copa del Rey final versus the Catalans through suspension. N’Zonzi took time to adjust to the intense heat of life in Seville and was sent off in his first league match, against Malaga.
The Frenchman was also frustrated that challenges he made in England were being punished in Spain. But it was against Barcelona, curiously, that he began to find his best form. That was in the Andalusians’ 2-1 win at home to the Catalans last October, when N’Zonzi was superb alongside Grzegorz Krychowiak in a double pivot that
ultimately helped Sevilla secure a third straight Europa League crown and qualify for the Champions League.