two different ways of facing the abyss

BarcelonaXavi Hernández had a lot of hopes for the first leg of 2022. Before leaving for the Christmas holidays with a good taste in his mouth thanks to a very convincing performance at Sevilla, the Terrassa coach claimed to have a young offensive trident, with spark and room for improvement to face the second round of the League. Negotiations to incorporate Ferran Torres were in the rush In the end, Ousmane Dembélé repeated that he wanted to renew as a Barça player and Ansu Fati sprinted to finally leave behind a muscle injury associated with 11 months of inactivity caused by a rupture in his left meniscus. At the end of January, the reality is stubborn: only the Valencian is aiming for the “regeneration” promised by Joan Laporta. Instead, the other two attackers have come out of the equation. Ansu has recovered from a femoral biceps injury and Dembélé has decided, at the request of his agent, to go to war against the club.

On Thursday in San Mamés, Barça lost options to revalidate the Cup, but above all they cried a new injury for their most capable goal scorer. The Spanish-Guinean, with whom he had worked with the utmost caution, played more than expected because the game went into overtime and broke the same muscle that was already damaged. If the first exploration in Bilbao predicted a minimum of two months of absence, which was already a very hard blow for the young batsman, the results of the tests the next day were even less friendly. The MRI showed an injury with involvement of the proximal tendon, a diagnosis that in 2017 took Dembélé to the operating room. Dr. Ricard Pruna recommended this solution to scare away the ghost of relapses, as he had to do with Sergi Roberto, victim of two reinjuries the last few months on the same muscle. But Ansu wrinkled his nose, they say from the locker room, influenced by the four interventions that had to be performed during the tortuous recovery of his meniscus.

As there was debate, the player, the coach, the doctors and the recoverers took a day off to reflect and have met this Monday in the sports city after training. Bori and Brahima, the victim’s father and brother, as well as Jorge Mendes, were also part of the meeting in which Pruna presented arguments in favor of the operation, which would be led by Finnish specialist Lasse Lampainen. However, the Fati remain hesitant and opt for conservative treatment. They see that Ansu can dribble the operating room and have shorter deadlines than if he opted for surgery, so if all goes well he could compete before the end of the season. In return, however, this plan includes a greater risk of relapse, as the success of recovery depends more than ever on physical loads, a factor that should be measured very carefully. In this sense, the work of the physiotherapist who has worked in recent weeks with the player, Carlos Nogueira, would be vital. Ansu should also play his part in learning to listen to his body. His game is explosive and any miscalculation could lead him to take steps backwards: that’s what he’s at risk for. The final decision on treatment will be made in the next few hours.

Moussa Sissoko gets nervous

Dembélé has also decided to play it. In a different way, because he (now) is not injured. His pulse is with the club, and specifically for the renewal that urges him to accept so that he is not free on June 30. Advised by Moussa Sissoko, an unobtrusive and very heterodox representative, the French winger wants to extend the time to decide what to do with his career. His position is legitimate because he is protected by an armored contract, but it completely clashes with the plans of the sports management, which provided for the expansion of the Mosquito to release too much salary and regain control over a footballer who, despite his disappointing legacy as a Barça player, he still has a projection and a market.

Mateu Alemany’s strategy to counter Dembélé’s indefiniteness has been to say publicly that the soap opera has only two possible endings: renewal or departure before January 31st. The warning has had sporting consequences – Xavi has ruled out the player from the last two official matches – and has also stung Sissoko, who first called reporters to denounce the club’s position and then leaked a meeting for this week. there is no record in the offices of the Camp Nou. The stakes are high and the German is still more inclined to offer the end to Premier League clubs than to renegotiate. But the market closes seven days from now and Dembélé, who this weekend has alleged gastric problems from not showing up at the sports city, knows that the calendar is playing in his favor. If he keeps up the pressure, he will be free on July 1, although he runs the risk of running out. And if he competes, given his medical history, he is exposed to injuries that could condition Sissoko’s millionaire plans for the summer. No money, no party.

Pending what happens with Dembélé, the keystone to know if he can incorporate another striker or a left winger who will oxygenate the controversial Jordi Alba, Xavi has already agreed to stay with Luuk de Jong until the summer, once the The Dutchman has stated that he does not want to go to Cadiz to fight not to go down to Second. The management of the ex-Sevilla player, who scored two decisive goals in early 2022, once again shows a certain volatility in sports planning. Suddenly, De Jong has consolidated at eleven to the detriment of his compatriot Memphis, more news in recent days for his Spanish classes than for his contribution to the turf.



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