Who Will Step Up And Take Pedri’s Midfield Spot At FC Barcelona?

FC Barcelona lost more than control of Camp Nou to foreign fans and a Europa League quarter-final second leg tie with Thursday’s 3-2 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Hooked off at half time, Pedri will be out for anything up to eight weeks after rupturing a muscle in his thigh during the opening 45 minutes, which means that the Blaugrana have also lost their best playmaker who, with three goals in five appearances, was in blistering form prior to his last outing.

“It’s a tough today but there’s nothing for it but to look forward” the 19-year-old wrote on social media, while saying he was “infinitely grateful for the affection I have received over the last few hours.”

“With your support, I am sure I will return even stronger. Now more than ever, let’s support the team and… FORÇA BARÇA!,” he finished.

Now the question remains as to who will step up in his absence, as second place Barca look to keep the heat on La Liga leaders Real Madrid who they trail by 12 points with but also, more realistically, look to lock down automatic qualification to the Champions League.

SPORT naturally point to Gavi and say that his time has come. Third in total appearances (39) across the squad and only surpassed by Frenkie de Jong (40) and captain Sergio Busquets (43), the 17-year-old clearly has first team coach Xavi’s trust and would be an excellent fit to partner the former Netherlands international in front of the latter pivot in the center of the park.

The same paper has the battle for the vacant spot between Gavi and his fellow 2021 breakout star Nico Gonzalez, who has become a second string star since the turn of the year on Xavi’s watch but has still notched 1,831 minutes in 38 games to Gavi’s 2,445 minutes while having notched two goals and two assists.

Further down the pecking order are two more La Masia products in Riqui Puig and Sergi Roberto. While Roberto has had his problems with injuries this season and is currently recovering from a knock, Puig is one of only two players alongside Busquets that haven’t been on the operating table this term yet it is clear that neither Xavi nor his predecessor Ronald Koeman counter on him through having notched just 380 minutes across 14 outings with only two of those as a starter.

With eight games of the season left, it remains to be seen who ends up getting the nod or if Xavi rotates to see what his best options are for 2022/2023.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomsanderson/2022/04/16/who-will-step-up-and-take-pedris-midfield-spot-at-fc-barcelona/