Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman confirmed on Tuesday that 18-year-old striker Ansu Fati is close to agreeing a new long-term contract that will keep the attacker at the Camp Nou.
Koeman was asked about the speculation surrounding Fati’s future at a news conference to discuss Barcelona’s Champions League clash with Dynamo Kiev at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
The Dutchman had good news for supporters who will be eager to see the exciting teenager commit his long-term future to the Catalan giants, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
“The only thing I know is what you said,” he said. “They are close to reaching an agreement. I think that’s very important news. We are talking about a young player with a lot of quality. He is one of those who will mark the future of this club.”
Fati will follow in the footsteps of midfielder Pedri and sign a contract that runs for another five seasons, as reported by Fernando Polo at Mundo Deportivo. The striker’s deal is also expected to contain a release clause set at €1 billion to put off any potential admirers, as reported by Marca.
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Will Ansu Start Against Dynamo Kiev?
Koeman also hinted that Fati may not start against Dynamo Kiev with the Champions League fixture sandwiched between crunch games against Valencia and Real Madrid in La Liga.
Fati made his first start of the season and scored in the 3-1 win over Valencia, and Koeman made it clear the 18-year-old cannot play every game at the moment as he’s only just back from a long-term knee injury.
“The next rival is always the most important,” he said. “You have to try to get each player to his best level. That is why I said that it was impossible for Ansu to play three games in seven days.”
Fati played an hour against Los Che on Sunday before being replaced, as Barca handle his comeback very carefully. The teenager is in the squad for the visit of the Ukrainian champions.
Barca No. 10 Suits Ansu, Says Sergio Aguero
Fit-again Sergio Aguero is also in Barca’s matchday squad to face Dynamo Kiev after making his first appearance for the Catalan giants as a substitute against Valencia on Sunday.
The Argentine was also in attendance at the pre-match press conference and took time out to praise his new teammate Fati, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
“You have to help him continue to grow because today it is very difficult to stay at a high level,” he said. “We veterans are here to support him. You can tell that he has a talent that is not seen often and you have to take advantage of it.”
Aguero also admitted Lionel Messi’s old No. 10 shirt suits Fati and explained why he had opted to take the No. 19 at Barcelona.
“It is the number that I used during the U-20 World Cup in Holland and also in the national team. Leo had No. 10 but when Piqué and more people from the club asked me about the No. 10, I had already asked for the No. 19. Also, the 10 fits Ansu quite well. He came back eager, he is young and has a talent that we should be grateful that we have.”
Barca head into Wednesday’s fixture against Dynamo Kiev needing a win to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the last 16 of Europe’s top competition after opening with defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica.