Although he’s been off the pace since his injury woes, there’s little doubt that Ansu Fati has always been an important player for FC Barcelona.
Given the way in which he burst onto the scene and how Lionel Messi’s blaugrana career abruptly ended, it wasn’t too much of a stretch for many culers to anoint the youngster as Barca’s new hope.
Certainly, if Ansu can get back to anywhere close to full fitness, Xavi will have some player on his hands.
A player that he’s set to unleash after the Christmas break, with Robert Lewandowski sidelined through suspension.
That enforced absence will see Ansu lead the line for three games, beginning with the Catalan derby against Espanyol and including a difficult test against Atletico Madrid.
“From now on, Ansu will be much more important for us,” Xavi noted. “We have been taking him progressively, but in these six months that he remains he must be very important for the team.”
Does he need to hit the goal trail immediately? Undoubtedly.
If there’s one element of his play that’s been most noticeable since his return from injury it’s that his natural instinct isn’t what it once was.
How does a player even begin to stop overthinking each time a ball comes his way in a decent goal scoring position?
That’s the conundrum that Xavi needs to help solve if Barca want to be successful in 2022/23 on all remaining fronts.
Lewandowski has been such a hit since his arrival from Bayern Munich, hitting the back of the net with alarming regularity and from almost any attacking situation. Something that Ansu once did with ease.
A striker’s currency is goals and indeed, it’s time that Ansu started to cash in once more. With Xavi’s unwavering support, there’s every reason to believe that he can get back into the goal scoring groove sooner rather than later.
To fulfill the early promise he showed virtually every time he set foot on a football pitch.
Perhaps just as important is the support Ansu receives from the Camp Nou terraces. All strikers thrive on confidence after all and the home fans can play their part.
If Ansu can hit the ground running at the turn of the year, who’s to say that he can’t form the deadliest of partnerships with the Polish international to help fire Barca to glory…