Ansu Fati could bring back feel-good factor at Barcelona

Ansu Fati’s new Barcelona contract needs to be sorted as a matter of urgency… after smashing another record with Spain, he has shown Ronald Koeman he can lift the gloom over the Nou Camp

  • Ansu Fati became Spain’s youngest ever goalscorer in a 4-0 win over Ukraine
  • Fati, aged 17 years and 311 days, managed to find the net with a superb effort 
  • The Barcelona player is not on a first-team deal and is becoming more expensive
  • Josep Bartomeu could bump up his approval rating by signing him to a new deal
  • Fati could bring back the feel-good factor that Barcelona desperately need 

Of all the many things Barcelona should have handled better over the last 12 months, the contract of Ansu Fati can probably be added to the list.

The teenager who last night became Spain’s youngest ever goalscorer aged 17 years and 311 days is still not on a first-team deal.

Every time he makes history he becomes a little bit more expensive for them to keep. His current contract runs out in 2022, his buy-out is €170m (£153m), and his agent is now Jorge Mendes.

Ansu Fati has shown himself to be one of the most promising footballers in world football

Fati starred for Spain becoming their youngest ever goalscorer during a 4-0 win over Ukraine

Fati has yet to be tied down to a first-team deal which Barcelona desperately need to do

They should have tied him to a new first-team deal with the automatic minimum €400m (£359m) buy-out clause that that would include, some time ago.

If unpopular president Josep Bartomeu wants to bump up his on-the-floor approval rating he could do much worse than bring Fati in this week for the signing and the photo opportunity.

He needs something to slow down the rate of signatures on the motion of no-confidence against him and that might do the trick.

Once Fati is signed he ceases to be the president’s problem and becomes Ronald Koeman’s. A great problem to have, but a problem all the same.

Koeman has already told Antoine Giezmann he wants him in a more central role; he’s requested the club sign Memphis Depay; and now Lionel Messi is staying. So how does he fit in the youngster all Barcelona supporters want to see in the team this season?

Fati is not knocking at the door anymore. As Diario AS said in its Monday coverage of Spain’s 4-0 win over Ukraine: ‘he’s s smashed the door down’.

Fati scored the third goal during Spain’s victory cutting in from left the curling into the net

His brilliant full debut that included winning a penalty with his first involvement and becoming the youngest player to score for Spain in the nation’s 100-year history has reminded everyone just what a talent he is.

He has already become the youngest ever Champions League goalscorer and the youngest ever Barcelona goalscorer. He even has a back story to match Messi’s.

Messi had the serviette contract, and the hormone therapy injections; Fati arrived from Guinea-Bissau aged six after Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, the mayor of Marinaleda in Seville, got him a job as a driver for the council.

If Josep Bartomeu wants to bump up his approval rating, signing Fati to a deal won’t harm him 

Dad ‘Boro’ couldn’t believe it when his son was called up to train with the first team last season while still not having played for the B-team. The scenes in his home on Sunday when Fati broke the record were off the scale.

It’s all happened so fast but the big question now is how will new coach Koeman respond.

Asked what he thought his prospects were of getting more playing time under Koeman on Sunday night Fati replied: ‘I will keep training as hard as I can and if I get an opportunity I will take it.’

It’s his attitude that has convinced so many people at Barcelona that his talent will be fulfilled. One thing cannot be contested: the supporters will demand it.

Koeman comes into the job with plenty of credit because he won the European Cup at Wembley in 1992.

New coach Ronald Koeman will be tasked with bringing the most out of Fati’s obvious potential

He has an advantage that Quique Setien and Ernesto Valverde never had. But he will be beaten with the same stick as those two if he does not give youth its chance.

Once again last night at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium there was evidence that Fati is not just another talented youngster. 

His debut goal could have easily come in the previous game when he scored but the goal was ruled out because Sergio Ramos had fouled in the area before Fati nodded in Ferran Torres’ cross.

The speed at which he finishes is as impressive as the speed with which he steps up a level and breaks a new record.

Fati broke into the senior squad last season where he scored eight goals in 33 appearances

His goal against Ukraine highlights what, at moment he does best, cutting in from the left and shooting off his right foot. It’s a position and trick that Philippe Coutinho likes to play in and perform. The former Liverpool forward, back from his loan at Bayern Munich, is another Koeman is expected to accommodate.

The temptation for the Dutch coach might be to use caution over Fati’s development as the excuse to not play him at first.

But how long before the demands to start with him become too much?

Before the season even begins Barcelona need to sit down with Fati and have him sign his new contract. Koeman then needs to put him in the team. It’s been a gloomy summer. He’s the feelgood factor the club desperately needs.

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