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LALIGA

Ansu’s future, a hot potato for Barcelona

Laporta does not want to get entangled or be seen to play a part in deciding the future of a player who is well loved an respected. He will leave that task to Xavi.

Update:
Laporta does not want to get entangled or be seen to play a part in deciding the future of a player who is well loved an respected. He will leave that task to Xavi.

Barça are, metaphorically speaking, juggling a hot potato with Ansu Fati. Nobody wants to be responsible for, or at least to be viewed as playing any part in a hypothetical sale of the talented 20-year-old. On Monday, Laporta let slip in an interview for TV3 that the technical management will decide what happens with Barça’s No.10 this summer. An elegant way of passing the ball to Xavi and Deco, the future sports director who, by the way, has a close friendship with Jorge Mendes, Ansu’s agent...

Ansu’s case is a delicate one. He renewed until 2027 a year and a half ago, as one of the top players in the squad with the aim of turning him into a franchise player of the future like Pedri. But injuries plagued him last season (serious muscle injuries in Vigo and San Mamés) and he has not settled into the XI this season because hasn’t made the most of the opportunities he’s had (11 starts in LaLiga). Nevertheless, Ansu is one of the most loved players with the fans, who have seen him come though La Masia and break into the senior side. And besides, there is no denying he is a very talented player. Nobody wants to the burden of being responsible if he leaves. Laporta, Xavi, Jordi Cruyff and Deco all know that if Ansu can get back to his top level, he can succeed at any club in the world. And that would be mortifying to see - not to mention the stigma of having assisted in his departure.

Fans’ favourite

It’s an old issue in football. Coaches and technical staff will try to get the player to take the first step and say publicly that they want to leave. But Ansu doesn’t want to leave. The knee-jerk declarations by his father Bori (“If it were up to me, he would leave”), who then backed down weeks later (“He’s staying where he’s safe”), raised alarms about a possible express sale. But Ansu insisted: “I have a contract until 2027 and my idea is to continue at Barça for many more years”. Pedri called on fans to shower Ansu with affection during this week’s LaLiga victory parade. And it is clear that Ansu continues to be well loved among the people.

If Barça want to sign Messi, they know that they need to act quickly because the Argentine star is not going to wait. The must offload players first. But Ansu’s case is not easy. Mendes would have few problems finding suitors and has suggested Wolves as a possible destination. But it will be the player who has the last word, if he stands his ground, the situation could become messy.