Barcelona forward Memphis Depay has shown off a fresh now look at training as the first-team got back to work after returning from Germany and a 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.
Memphis was spotted looking clean shaven at the Ciutat Esportiva as Xavi put his players through their paces and began preparations for the team’s next La Liga match on Sunday, April 10 at Levante.
The Dutchman was forced to miss the draw against Eintracht Frankfurt after picking up a hamstring strain ahead of the game against the Bundesliga side.
Memphis is also expected to miss the trip to Levante and could be out of action for around two weeks, as reported by Javi Miguel at Diario AS. If the estimate proves correct then the forward will also miss the return leg against Eintracht Frankfurt and La Liga games against Cadiz and Real Sociedad.
The Dutchman’s first season at Barcelona has been disrupted by injury but he remains the club’s top goalscorer in 2021-22. Memphis has 10 goals so far but January signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is already just one behind on nine.
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Luuk de Jong Returns to Training
Meanwhile, Xavi was able to welcome back striker Luuk de Jong to training on Friday, April 8. The Dutchman has been absent after testing positive for Covid-19 but is now back with the first-team group.
De Jong’s return gives Xavi more options in attack if he wants to rotate given the Catalan giants are in the midst of a hectic run of fixtures. Barca have been scheduled to play seven games in all competitions in April.
The Dutchman has proven a useful signing this season after arriving on loan from Sevilla. De Jong has six goals for Barca in 2021-22 but has struggled for minutes following the arrival in January of attackers Ferran Torres, Adama Traore, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Depay’s Future in Doubt?
The arrival of the attacking reinforcements in January has led to speculation that Memphis could depart the Camp Nou at the end of the season. The Dutchman’s future at the club is “increasingly up in the air,” according to Super Deporte.
A return to the Premier League, where Memphis previously spent two years with Manchester United, could be an option. Arsenal, Newcastle United, and Everton have all asked about the Netherlands international.
Memphis’s contract at Barcelona only runs until 2023 which means the Catalans will need to make a decision on the forward this summer. The club could look to extend his contract or sell to avoid losing him on a free transfer next summer.
Much may depend on what happens with fellow forwards Ousmane Dembele and Adama Traore. Dembele’s current deal expires in the summer but Barca have restarted contract extension talks with the French forward.
Meanwhile, Traore is only on loan but his deal does include a purchase option. However, the forward has fallen out of favor in recent weeks which means it looks unlikely currently that Barca will look to make the move permanent.