Barcelona are concerned that goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen requires knee surgery that could rule him out of action for up to four months.
According to Javier Miguel at AS, the Germany international “continues to have discomfort in the patellar tendon of his right leg” and has been suffering with the problem for several months.
The Catalan giants are now “seriously considering” whether their No.1 should undergo surgery to “definitively solve this complex situation.” Ter Stegen could have surgery as soon as Barca’s Champions League campaign finishes in August but doctors have predicted it would take him “three to four months to return.”
News of Ter Stegen’s injury will be a massive blow to the Catalan giants. The German has become one of their most crucial players and is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe.
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Who Could Replace Neto?
If Ter Stegen is sidelined for several months there will be huge pressure on whoever comes into the side to take his place. Brazilian Neto is currently the back-up in the Barcelona squad but has only made four appearances in 2019-20.
Indeed there have already been reports the 31-year-old could be sold after just one season at the Camp Nou. Ferran Martinez at Mundo Deportivo has reported Barcelona have placed him on the transfer market.
Barcelona’s only other option, unless they bring in a new goalkeeper, would be to promote 21-year-old Inaki Pena from Barcelona B. However, it would be a big ask for such an inexperienced goalkeeper.
Barcelona Back in for Onana?
Barcelona could always be tempted to dip into the transfer market to find a replacement. The club have previously been linked with a move to bring stopper Andre Onana back from Ajax.
The 24-year-old spoke warmly about the Catalan giants back in April in an interview with Canal+ Afrique.
“As I said earlier, Barca is my home. If I have to go back, I will go back. But today we are still far from it. I’m the Ajax goalkeeper and we’ll see what happens at the end of the season. I only take care of the ball game, what happens at the stadium. The rest are my agents who manage.”
Losing Ter Stegen for a significant chunk of next season will be a real concern for Barca and another problem for under-pressure manager Quique Setien. The goalkeeper kept 17 clean sheets in 2019-20 and his importance to the team can’t be understated.