Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has reportedly already chosen his attack for the 2021-22 season following the arrivals of Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero on free transfers.
The Dutchman plans to start off using captain Lionel Messi on the right of the attack with Aguero in the center and Depay playing on the left. Teenage star Ansu Fati will also be an option on the left once he’s proven his fitness after a lengthy spell out after knee surgery, according to Xavier Bosch at Mundo Deportivo.
Koeman plans to start the season by reverting to a tradional 4-3-3 formation after toying with different systems in 2020-21. Indeed Barca finished the campaign by playing reguarly with three center-backs.
The departure of Francisco Trincao to Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan and another long-term injury to Ousmane Dembele means Koeman is short of options to play out wide.
The Dutchman’s decision to go with Messi, Aguero, and Memphis is also bad news for Antoine Griezmann. According to Bosch, the Barcelona exit door “is wide open” for the Frenchman this summer.
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Ansu Fati Set For Barcelona Return
The return of Fati will be warmly welcomed by fans who have not been able to watch the youngster in action for Barcelona since November 2020 due to a troublesome knee injury.
According to Luis F. Rojo at Marca, the teenager’s recovery from a second operation in May has gone well and he is expected back for pre-season training at the Camp Nou on July 12.
There is even optimism that Fati could be fit enough to be included in the matchday squad for Barcelona’s first La Liga fixture of the season. The Catalan giants kick off the new campaign at the Camp Nou on August 15 against Real Sociedad.
What Next For Griezmann?
There seems no doubt that Fati has a bright future ahead of him at Barcelona, but it’s a different story for Griezmann. The arrivals of Depay and Aguero mean competition for places in attack has become fierce and there’s been speculation he could be sold.
However, Barca is struggling to find buyers for the World Cup winner in the summer transfer window with his high wages believed to be one factor putting off clubs, according to FourFourTwo.
Griezmann has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons currently after a video emerged that appeared to show the Barca attacker, and teammate Ousmane Dembele, mocking hotel staff in Japan in 2019.
Griezmann has also seen a contract with Konami canceled in the wake of the video emerging on social media. The company said in a statement, “Konami Digital Entertainment believes, as is the philosophy of sports, that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. Previously we had announced Antoine Griezmann as our Yu-Gi-Oh! contents ambassador, however, in light of recent events we’ve decided to cancel the contract.”
Barcelona has also issued an official statement on the incident and issued a public apology. The club has also said it “reserve the right to take the internal measures that it considers appropriate.”