What must be going through Ansu Fati’s head at this point in time?
He was never going to replace Leo Messi, let’s be clear about that from the off, but the way in which he burst onto the scene gave culers hope that here was the player to spearhead the next generation.
To bring the goals that would, hopefully, help return the Catalans to the top table of European football, and show that Messidependence could be consigned to the history books.
For a good while, everything young Ansu touched turned to gold. It was as if he had that sixth sense that all elite footballers possess, and most of the time he didn’t even need to think about what he was doing because it all came so naturally.
Fast forward to the present and the player we see toiling now is about as far removed from the one who made a record-breaking entrance into the first team as it’s possible to be.
Though there is a school of thought that in order to get the best out of the player Xavi needs to keep playing him until he effectively plays his way out of such poor form, one can’t blame the coach for giving Ansu bit parts here and there.
Not yet at their best, Barca are still walking the league at this point so why the hell would you change the status quo? It’s a bit of a double-edged sword in that respect.
Whatever bit of magic the forward possessed has faded considerably, and not only are defenders finding it easy to defend against him, Ansu can’t hit a barn door at the moment.
Certainly there’s no sniper’s eye for goal any longer.
He has just three goals in 20 La Liga appearances this season, compared to four in 10 last season and four in seven during the previous campaign.
Of course, strikers can and do have dry spells in front of goal, and maybe finding the target in consecutive matches could reignite the spark.
For those that have watched him every week this season, however, that’s a stretch, and it does beg the question that, whilst he’s still considered a decent enough talent, should the club cash in on him?
Before the start of next season, Barca will have had to wipe in the region of €200m from salaries in order to satisfy Javier Tebas and his desire for a salary limit. Selling Ansu would, theoretically, bring in at least half of that amount.
It’s a situation that was unthinkable not so long ago, but the player isn’t justifying his place in the squad and, sadly in this case, there’s no sentiment in football.
If Barcelona can let the greatest player of all time leave the club, then they can sure as hell move a player on who promised much but hasn’t delivered, more’s the pity.