There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding Ansu Fati over the past few months.
Towards the end of the season it intensified, and it’s fair to say that feelings were strong on either side of the argument.
Let’s deal with the elephant in the room first. Ansu isn’t anywhere close to the player he was before his knee problems and he can’t possibly be judged against how he played before because he simply isn’t the same player.
Looking at his form over the past season, he could’ve done better it’s true. Much better in fact. That can be attributed to a lack of confidence and the pressure to perform.
Very few players don’t go through a crisis of confidence at some point in their careers, and pressure can’t get to the very best.
People forget that Ansu is still just 20 years of age. Are we really at the point where we are going to dismiss players that are, effectively, still learning and honing their craft? Are we saying players are past their best when barely out of their teens just because their reputation precedes them?
Look how he finished the season for Barcelona, and how switched on and sprightly he seemed in Spain’s Nations League win over Croatia.
The financial situation at the club isn’t a good enough reason for Barca to simply to cast him aside, and rumours that Jorge Mendes is trying to put the squeeze on him to move, whilst unsurprising, surely isn’t the best move for his career at this stage.
Moreover, if Ansu can find his form, he would be like a new signing for Xavi.
One can assume that a lack of match time from the coach in 22/23 will have come as a direct result of what he’s seen in training and on the pitch. Therefore it’s down to the player to prove his coach - and everyone else that’s written him off - entirely wrong.
Clearly, the road back to becoming a feared attacker isn’t going to be an easy one, but another year as a minimum - perhaps two would be fairer - will answer any questions that Barcelona want to pose.
As the sharpness returns so will the confidence, and it’s then that the goals should flow.
Will he be the natural finisher that burst onto the scene a few seasons ago? No. That player doesn’t exist.
If the club and its fans are willing to accept that, and if Ansu shows he will give his best every time he pulls on the shirt, he’s ready made for Xavi’s front three.