Barcelona’s injury woes leads to youth prospect’s opportunity

Xavi / Getty Images
Xavi / Getty Images

Xavi to decide who to replace Frenkie de Jong and Pedri in the squad.

Everything moves forward, and there’s no rest at Can Barça. Xavi Hernández’s team returned in the early hours of Sunday with a bitter taste in their mouths. The Blaugranas couldn’t get past a draw at San Mamés and missed the chance to close the gap on Madrid and overtake Girona in the table. To make matters worse, they lost two of their key figures: Frenkie de Jong and Pedri. The coach won’t have the Dutchman or the Canary Islander available for the coming weeks, and with Gavi also sidelined, Gündogan is the only starting midfielder for Barcelona who will be available in this crucial stretch of the season, not counting Christensen’s ‘transformation.’

According to Mario Rios of Mundo Deportivo, Xavi is already seeking solutions to address the midfield problems, and hours after returning from Bilbao, he called up players for recovery work on Monday morning. In that session, two academy players who could fill the voids were present: Marc Casadó and Pau Prim. The captain of Barça Atlètic has been involved with the first team all season but has only played 22 minutes in the Champions League across two games (8 against Shakhtar and 14 against Antwerp). He has yet to debut in the league this season.

The notable inclusion in training was Pau Prim (18 years old). The youth midfielder hasn’t featured much for Rafa Márquez’s Barça Atlètic but is a key figure for Óscar López’s Juvenil A team. The Mexican coach has more confidence in Marc Bernal (16 years old), who could also make an appearance in the upcoming training sessions. However, José Lana chose Prim over Bernal in the World Cup. We’ll see which profile convinces Xavi more.