Ansu Fati is closing in on a return to action for Barcelona after 10 months on the sidelines with a knee injury. The 18-year-old has not featured since November 2020 but is back in training with the first team.
Coach Ronald Koeman has rejected suggestions Fati could return in Barcelona’s next La Liga outing against Sevilla on September 11, but fans may not have to wait too much longer to see the club’s new No. 10 back out on the pitch.
Barcelona’s medical team are now expecting Fati to return when Granada visits the Camp Nou on September 20, according to Diario Sport. The report adds that the teenager is currently working with a physio as well as training with the first team in order “to get as fit as possible.”
It’s also highlighted that Fati is not being given days off currently, unlike the rest of the squad, and is effectively undertaking his own pre-season before he makes his long-awaited comeback.
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Barcelona’s Attack Set For Change
The Barcelona attack is set for major changes after the close of the transfer window. Antoine Griezmann has become the latest player to leave the Camp Nou, while Yusuf Demir has now joined the first-team squad.
The 18-year-old was originally signed for Barcelona B but has since been promoted and will wear the No. 11 shirt in 2021-22. Barcelona has also brought in striker Luuk de Jong from Sevilla on a season-long loan.
The club’s injury problems are also easing. Fati is expected to be the first attacker to return from a lengthy lay-off with Ousmane Dembele and Sergio Aguero set to follow afterwards.
Dembele is expected back in late October, while Barcelona has also shared a glimpse of Aguero working hard on his recovery from a calf injury.
The Argentina international is still yet to make his debut for the Catalan giants after joining on a free transfer in the summer. Aguero is also expected to make his return in October.
De Jong Talks Up Barcelona Move
Koeman will therefore have plenty of options in attack, although it would be no surprise to see Fati become a regular fixture in the starting XI if he can recapture the form he displayed when he first broke into the first team in 2019.
Memphis Depay also looks a certain starter after a bright start to his Barcelona career, scoring twice and picking up an assist in his first three La Liga matches, while new signing De Jong is also hoping for minutes.
The Dutchman spoke about his strong relationship with Koeman and why the Barca coach had signed him in a recent interview with Barca TV.
“I always had a really good relationship with Koeman. For me it’s really special to go to Barcelona and work with him again. We can always speak good together about tactics because we know each other from the national team of Holland already,” he said. “He told me he wanted a different type of striker in the team and that’s why he chose me so he can change things in games. People know my qualities and Koeman does as well. Hopefully it will work out really well.”
Goals are not usually a problem for Barcelona, who were La Liga’s top scorers last season despite finishing third, but Koeman will need his attackers to step up after seeing Lionel Messi and Griezmann both depart the Camp Nou.