Barcelona coach Xavi admits winger Ansu Fati could be sold this summer, with both Arsenal and Manchester United among clubs thought to be interested.
The Spain international came up through Barca’s youth sides before making his senior debut aged just 16. He became the Catalan giant’s second-youngest player in August 2019. And, despite his tender years, Fati enjoyed 11 starts among 24 LaLiga appearances in 2019-2020.
The youngster bagged seven goals and also made a decent contribution the following campaign before injury struck.
He had notched four goals from seven top-flight outings when a knee injury suffered against Real Betis ended his season.
The Guinea-Bissau-born ace was expected to be out for four months but spent nine months on the sidelines.
Despite then inheriting Lionel Messi’s number 10 shirt, the starlet struggled to live up to the hype in 2021-2022.
Once again he spent a lengthy period out of the limelight, with a hamstring injury keeping him away from the action for three months.
And he managed just four goals from ten league outings that season.
The man with nine Spain caps was back in action last season but mainly from the bench.
He was seen in 36 LaLiga games but handed just 12 starts, scoring seven times. His lack of starts prompted a few clubs to make enquiries during 2022-23.
However, the former Sevilla youth star made it clear he was not interested in leaving the Nou Camp in February this year.
But his father then stirred the pot with his own take on the situation.
Fati future up in the air
Fati may have been diplomatic in responding to questions over his lack of starts but his father, Bori, pulled no punches.
And in an explosive interview with COPE in March, he confessed to being ‘very angry’ about his son’s predicament.
He spoke about a possible return to Sevilla or moving to one of the Madrid clubs. However, many English outfits remain in the loop.
His lack of action may have deterred some of them. But Xavi has now confessed that, despite his ties to the club, a sizeable bid might see him depart.
“I don’t understand when you say I’m not very convincing [on the matter]. Until the window shuts [anything can happen],” he told reporters.
“I’m happy with him, he is heritage of this club. I don’t know how I should say it. The market will dictate, and that is up until August 31st.
“I can’t say he will stay because perhaps he won’t. But I’m happy with him: he is a player for the present and the future.”
Once thought as the future of the club, Fati now looks vulnerable to an exit, especially given the club’s financial situation.
He would not come cheap and, given the amount Arsenal have already spent this summer, a move to the Emirates seems unlikely.
United, Newcastle and Chelsea have all been linked in the past.
Signing him would be a gamble given his injury problems but his best years are clearly still ahead of him.