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Barcelona prodigy Xavi’s first option to replace Dembele ahead of Fati, Torres – report



Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

While Barcelona picked up yet another important victory on Saturday against Girona, they were also dealt a blow on the evening at Estadi Montilivi as in-form winger Ousmane Dembele sustained a thigh injury.

Early reports indicate that the 25-year-old could be out of action for around three weeks, with the Frenchman all but certain to miss the first leg of the UEFA Europa League playoffs against Manchester United, apart from important matches versus Real Betis, Sevilla, and Villarreal.

Given that Dembele has been one of Barça’s most influential players this season, the winger’s absence is bound to hurt Xavi’s plans.

The manager does have Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres, whose two-game ban is over, at his disposal. But, according to Javi Miguel of AS, Barcelona youngster Gavi is the first option of manager Xavi to replace Dembele ahead of the aforementioned duo.

As things stand, there is no possibility of Barcelona signing a replacement forward this month following the exit of Memphis Depay and the injury to Dembele. So, Xavi will have to make do with the players at his disposal.

Fati and Torres would be the natural options on the wings for the Catalan giants. However, both have struggled for form and continuity in the side this season.

In the meantime, Gavi has made a big impression while operating as a false-winger on the left side in recent matches. The teenage prodigy put in a MotM display in the Spanish Super Cup final against Real Madrid from such a role and impressed against Real Sociedad as well.

On Saturday, when Dembele was taken off, Xavi introduced Pedri as a substitute, with Gavi moving into the winger’s role.

Essentially, the frontline for the next few matches could see Robert Lewandowski, back from suspension, line up alongside Raphinha and Gavi, with Ferran and Ansu as covers, while academy prospect Angel Alarcon also being an option.

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