Barcelona has already “pencilled in” a potential return date for teenage forward Ansu Fati who is closing in on a return to first-team action after a lengthy injury lay-off.
The 18-year-old is expected to return to full training with the team in three weeks’ time with the aim of playing in Barcelona’s fifth La Liga game of the new 2021-22 campaign against Granada at the Camp Nou on Sunday, 19 September.
Fati is expected to miss the first four games of the season, against Real Sociedad, Athletic, Getafe, and Sevilla, but could return to action 10 months after his last outing for the Catalan giants, according to Albert Roge at Diario Sport.
The teenager has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury against Real Betis on 7 November, 2020. Fati has since undergone four operations in six months in a bid to end his knee problems, as reported by Javier Miguel at AS.
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Fati To Miss Pre-Season Matches
Fati is currently working on his recovery in Barcelona and Madrid and will not feature in the club’s pre-season friendlies, according to Roge. The team plays Girona on Saturday and then flies out to Germany for games against Stuttgart and Red Bull Salzburg.
While the first-team is away, Fati will be in Madrid doing “double sessions” in a bid to return to full training in August. Roge adds a note of caution that Fati’s return “is dependent” on his knee being able to cope with the increased workload.
Yet Fati’s return will be a big boost for the club, particularly after such a lengthy spell out of action. The teenager had scored five goals in 10 games for Barca in 2020-21 before his campaign was cruelly cut short by injury.
Koeman Spoilt For Choice
The youngster’s return will also leave coach Ronald Koeman spoilt for choice when it comes to his attack for next season. The Dutchman already has Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite as options as well as new arrivals Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero.
There has been speculation Griezmann and Braithwaite could be sold, although the Denmark international’s agent has slammed talk of a transfer away and has insisted the striker will be at the Camp Nou next season.
Yet if Fati can recapture the incredible form he showed when he first burst on to the scene in September 2020 then he will certainly give his manager a selection headache up front.
The teenager broke a host of goalscoring records for club and country and looked set to be a regular in the Barcelona starting XI until his career was interrupted by a serious knee injury.
Fati’s return after such a lengthy layoff will be warmly welcomed as he remains one of Europe’s most exciting young attacking talents. The youngster finished as runner-up to Erling Haaland in the 2020 Golden Boy Award and also picked up Goal’s NxGn 2021 trophy in March 2021.