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What does Ansu Fati’s injury mean for Barcelona’s season?

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The youngster’s out for four months

Barcelona V Granada Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Talk about cutting a man down in his prime.

The injury to Ansu Fati couldn’t really have come at a worse time for him personally, and with meniscus injuries being one of those that often repeats, Barca fans can only hope his knee is strengthened to such an extent so as to not worry about that.

In any event, and trying to look on the bright side, he should be back in the fold for the business end of the season, and it will feel like having a new signing in the squad at that point.

Ansu’s pain is another’s gain of course, but who does stand to benefit from the youngster’s misfortune?

The most obvious choice would be Konrad de la Fuente, whose name has already been mentioned in that regard.

FC Barcelona v Real Betis - La Liga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

The young American offers something a bit different, and with Ronald Koeman looking to bring through as many youth players as the club can afford whilst still remaining competitive, Konrad would probably be a popular choice.

Though it would encourage a change of system, Antoine Griezmann might well get a reprieve of sorts too.

Playing through the middle with Lionel Messi coming in from the right and Ousmane Dembele on the left also makes perfect sense.

What it does mean of course, is that the Frenchman has got no excuses not to deliver. He’s had his nine lives already and if he can’t take advantage now, then he never will.

That said, both Griezmann and countryman Dembele could command reasonable fees in the transfer market, and given that the club are in so much financial difficulty, moving one or both on also makes sense.

FC Barcelona v Real Betis - La Liga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

In the interim, Koeman’s focus has to be on clawing back the deficit on the teams at the top. An atypical start to the campaign has left Barca not quite floundering but needing everything to fall into place just to get back on an even keel.

Over the course of the entire 2020/21 season, I’d expect us to be there or thereabouts, but these next six weeks or so before the winter break are absolutely crucial.

The decisions Koeman makes now will arguably author the remainder of the campaign.

Can he afford to strip the team back to its essence? That being having La Masia graduates heavily populating the side. Will culers give him the time he needs to do just that? Are we going to prioritise youth and Barca values over trophies this season?

So many questions, all of which will get answered in due course.

In the meantime, if Koeman gets it right, it could well kickstart Barca’s season.