Transfer Rumors and News

Xavi planning to use Barcelona winger as a midfielder in light of Pedri, de Jong injuries

Barcelona have been severely unlucky with injuries throughout the season, much like most top teams across Europe.

With the footballing schedule getting increasingly hectic, the Catalans are among the teams whose players are impacted the most with recurring muscle problems and fatigue, that of course, leads to severe underperformance.

Against Athletic Club on the weekend, Barcelona suffered two major blows as Frenkie de Jong and Pedri picked up serious injuries in the first-half itself.

The Dutchman rolled his ankle landing after an aerial contest, while Pedri pulled his hamstring while attempting a long pass. Both seemingly odd injuries on the surface, but it will keep both of them out for a month, at least.

They are both sidelined for the big game against Napoli next week, as well, in the Champions League round of 16 second leg. Which is a huge headache for Xavi, especially with Gavi also out for the rest of the season.

As such, SPORT have reported that Xavi is preparing to use Raphinha as a midfielder due to the injuries for the upcoming games.

Oriol Romeu, Fermin Lopez, and Sergi Roberto are available as options who can cover the midfield, but the coaching staff seem unimpressed with their contributions.

And also, Xavi has previously used Raphinha as a right-sided central midfielder and as a no. 10 when the squad was scarred with injuries. The Brazilian did not particularly stand out in any of these games, though.

This experiment will, however, allow Lamine Yamal the starting spot as the right-winger after being benched for two games in a row by Raphinha — vs Getafe and Athletic Club, respectively.

Further, in Raphinha Barcelona will have an athletic presence in midfield, which has gone away with Gavi, de Jong, and also partly Pedri.

It also means Gunodgan can start on the left side of the midfield trident, as he likes to, while Barça can have another left-footed player in the team.

If there is any truth to these rumours, Raphinha could start as a midfielder against Mallorca on Friday, and should the experiment go well-enough, he could be rewarded with a place in the XI against Napoli, too.

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