You have to feel for Ousmane Dembele.
Just when he appeared to be finding some continued rhythm to his game, becoming more important for Barca in the process, he is struck down by a European Championship-ending injury which will also likely see him miss the opening two months of next season at best.
It’s a bitter blow for the player and for Barca, but what does it mean in the grand scheme of things?
From a playing perspective, it surely opens up the door for Memphis and Ansu Fati to stake their claims.
Either could have a seven to eight week period where they’re not being challenged by the Frenchman for the position, and by the time he’s fit to start again, there’s every chance he’ll be completely out of the picture as far as starting games is concerned.
In some respects it gets Ronald Koeman out of a hole too, because he wasn’t going to bring Memphis in to sit him on the bench week in and week out.
Yes, there’ll be immediate pressure on the Dutchman to deliver for his new club, but without Dembele breathing down his neck, at least initially, he can ease himself into the side.
Ansu’s own injury hell should soon be over, and he too will be champing at the bit to prove that, despite almost a year out, he can still be the player everyone believes he will turn out to be.
Financially Barca have a conundrum too.
Given Dembele’s injury history at the club, and the fact he’s yet to put pen to paper on a new deal, might it be worthwhile Joan Laporta cutting his losses and allowing the player to move on?
He earns a pretty penny and if he’s going to start spending more time on the treatment table again, there’s justification for the club to say ‘thanks, but it’s time to part ways.’
Or maybe it works better if Barca do re-sign him to a new deal, only to sell him next summer for something approaching an acceptable fee.
Until this latest injury, there was every reason to believe that the club may have tried to ship him out this summer, regardless of his form in 2020/21, but that option is clearly no longer open to them.
What they decide to do next will clearly impact upon the squad in one way or another.
Laporta has, to this point at least, hit all of the right notes, but can he do the same in this situation?