It seems that Ousmane Dembélé’s current run of bad luck couldn’t have come at a worse moment. The Frenchman left Barcelona’s 1-0 LaLiga victory against Girona in the 24th minute after he tweaked a thigh muscle while trying to sprint past an opponent.
This came at a bad time for him, as he was savouring his best run of form this season. As the assailant pulled up and began scratching his thigh, it was evident that something had gone wrong. Dembélé tried to play through the pain, but after a few worried glances toward the bench, he was signalled off the field.
Barça manager Xavi Hernández was asked about Dembélé after the game and responded, “It’s a shame because he’s a matchwinner for us. The tests will reveal the truth, but he did sense something. We’re praying it’s nothing major.
A slew of online sources, such as Helena Condis of Spanish radio program COPE, claim that the harm will keep Dembélé out for two to three weeks, casting doubt on his participation in Barça’s Europa League clash against Manchester United. The winger will undergo tests when the team returns to Barcelona, but the early signs don’t look particularly promising. It’s possible that the ex-Borussia Dortmund star will miss a few games due to Barcelona’s hectic schedule over the next several weeks.
Xavi would be severely hampered by the loss of Dembélé because the Frenchman has become one of La Blaugrana’s most prominent players in Xavi’s 51 appearances as Barça coach.
The unusual timing of the 2022 World Cup, Barcelona’s involvement in the Spanish Super Cup, their drive to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, and the reinstatement of the UEFA Europa League mean that they have had, and will continue to have, precious few free midweeks. Barcelona are currently taking part in a run of 16 games in 58 days.
The two legs of the Copa del Rey semi-finals are scheduled for the week of February 7-9 and the week of March 1-3, so Barcelona won’t have a single free midweek in either February or March. They didn’t have a single free midweek in January either. On Monday, the 30th of January, the drawing will take place.
In a surprising turn of events, it now appears that Barcelona may sign Real Sociedad forward Willian Jose outside of the transfer season. In 132 games for Sociedad, Jose has scored 53 goals. According to recent sources, Barcelona was granted authorization by Spanish authorities to sign a replacement for Dembele.
If a player suffers an injury that would require more than four months of rest, the club is allowed to replace him with a player from another team in the same domestic league, per the rules. Guidelines suggest that Barcelona should finalise any agreement to acquire a replacement for Dembele within two weeks.
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