Barca’s match against Elche this weekend will see a lot of rotation in the squad, with players like Ronald Araújo and Frenkie de Jong not expected to play. For another player, though, one who has been struggling as of late, this could be a golden opportunity. Ansu Fati has the chance to show once more what he can do.
Ansu has played minutes in 38 matches this season across all competitions and has scored six goals. He’s also dished out three assists. Disappointing numbers for someone with as much potential and hype as he had, and disappointing for someone wearing the number 10.
However, it’s not all his fault. Xavi has been playing him somewhat out of position and in tandem with other players that he doesn’t quite fit with. His minutes haven’t been regular at all (although one could argue understandably so). And the pressure that came from giving him the number 10 jersey was unfair to him, especially at such a young age. There were always going to be difficulties replacing Lionel Messi as the 10 with any player, let alone an injured 21-year-old.
Patience is something, unfortunately, that most sports fans don’t have in great amounts. He’s been in the media quite a bit recently due to some comments his father made. And while his father may be right when it comes to his improved fitness (I don’t know, I’m not a doctor), Ansu’s confidence definitely hasn’t been there. Other reports have claimed that Ansu disagrees with his father and realizes he needs to step up and play better in order to stay at Barcelona. Luis Enrique, former Barça and Spain manager, shared some comments regarding the one player he would’ve left out of the World Cup squad in hindsight; a lot of people believe he was referring to Ansu Fati. It seems like the media have been piling up on him recently, and comments like the ones made by his father and Luis Enrique certainly do not help.
There have been strong rumors for a while now that Ansu Fati may be sold this summer as a way to keep Barça’s wage bill under control. It’s clear that some people around him want him gone from the Catalan capital. Others within the club and media have given up on him as a Barcelona player. Patience is running out, bit by bit.
Against Elche this weekend, he’s likely to be a starter alongside Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres. Now, it’s important to note that one match isn’t going to magically restore Ansu’s image. There’s nothing he can do within this one match to rekindle all the positivity around his first foray into the Barça squad.
However, if he can play well, he may be able to earn a regular place as a rotation player in this squad and an occasional starter in games like this. If he can score a goal, assist, or have a good match, it may be possible for Ansu to regain some confidence. Confidence is everything for him right now. A good showing may be able to instill some more belief in him. Not much, but something to build on. Something to keep the negativity at bay for just a while longer.
It seems like he’s got one foot out the door. The clock is ticking for Ansu Fati, and he won’t get many more opportunities. That’s why this match against Elche could be huge for him. Let’s see what happens.