Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag reviews the Crystal Palace game
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Speculation over Ansu Fati’s Barcelona future is rife amid his demotion from the club’s future to a fringe player under Xavi’s regime. And Manchester United are among clubs linked with the 20-year-old ahead of another transfer window where Barca may need to sanction a significant sale.
Fati will have hoped to return to an important role after recovering from a hamstring injury that left him sidelined for most of last season and stalled his meteoric rise at the Nou Camp.
But he has struggled for minutes this term, making just nine starts in all competitions after an influx of attacking signings at Xavi’s request.
According to Sport, the Barcelona boss’ plans won’t change after opening up an eight-point lead at the top of La Liga with a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions, including 14 wins.
Robert Lewandowski is indispensable as the Blaugrana’s striker, and Ousmane Dembele was in undroppable form before suffering a short-term injury last month.
In response, Fati’s agent Jorge Mendes has recently been ‘accumulating interest’ in case the likelihood of a summer exit arises.
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And United are said to be one club in a position to make a big-money offer for Fati if his departure comes to fruition.
The report adds that Barcelona won’t initiate the Spanish starlet’s sale, even if they need to raise funds amid their continued financial uncertainty.
It will be down to Fati himself to ‘take the step’ if he wants to leave the Catalan giants, and that step has yet to be taken.
There will likely be hope that he can battle his way back into the starting picture before the end of the season.
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But 18-year-old midfielder Gavi has become a stalwart on the left wing, joining Dembele, Ferran Torres and Raphinha as options alongside Fati.
And if the latter can’t regain regular minutes in La Liga or the Europa League, he may request Mendes to step up his search for a new club.
Whether United will splash big money on a winger for the third successive summer remains to be seen after a £72million swoop for Jadon Sancho in 2021 and an £82m deal for Antony last summer.
Erik ten Hag is expected to prioritise most of his transfer kitty on a long-term striker, with Victor Osimhen, Harry Kane, Goncalo Ramos and Benjamin Sesko at the forefront of links.
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