Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez admitted forward Ousmane Dembele needs to improve his decision-making after seeing his team held to a 3-3 by draw by Inter in the Champions League on Wednesday.
It’s a damaging result for the Catalans and means they will fail to qualify for the knockout stages if Inter beat Viktoria Plzen in their next group game. The Czech side have lost all four matches so far, conceding 16 goals along the way.
Xavi spoke about his side’s struggles after the match and admitted his team’s decision-making, and Dembele’s in particular, needs to improve going forwards, as reported by ESPN.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta and director Mateu Alemany met with super-agent Jorge Mendes earlier today for lunch, reports Gerard Romero.
The journalist claims that during the meeting, the Barcelona officials discussed the possibility of terminating the loan agreement of Nico Gonzalez with Valencia during the January transfer window.
Mendes is the agent of Nico and was one of the main driving forces behind his summer exit as he convinced the player to leave on loan in order to get regular minutes – something that would not have been possible at Barça.
However, things have not panned out as per plans for the 20-year-old Valencia. While he showed some spark early in the season, the La Masia graduate has found game-time hard to come by in recent weeks, with manager Gennaro Gattuso not calling on him regularly.
So far this season, Nico has played seven times for Valencia, scoring one goal. However, he has played a total of just 231 minutes and has started only twice.
“I agree we need to make better decisions,” he said. “And not just Ousmane, when we get into final third, we all have to make better decisions, It’s about footballing maturity. Gavi and Pedri are very young, but they make quite good decisions. Ousmane struggled more. I have a lot of confidence in Ousmane, but sometimes he chooses badly. He stretches the pitch, he’s fast and we have a lot of confidence in him.”
Dembele scored the opening goal of the match at the Camp Nou, but Inter then went ahead through strikes from Nicolo Barella and Lautaro Martinez. Robert Lewandowski then scored twice and Robin Gooses was also on target in a frantic finish to the match.
It has seemingly led Barcelona to consider the possibility of terminating his loan deal as early as the January transfer window, with Laporta and Alemany discussing the subject in the meeting with Mendes earlier today, as per Romero.
What Barça plan to do if they successfully recall Nico from Valencia is unclear at this point. As things stand, the midfield department is already loaded at Spotify Camp Nou, so much so that the likes of Franck Kessie and Frenkie de Jong have not been receiving enough game-time.
So, it would be likely that Xavi Hernandez & co. consider loaning the 20-year-old out to a different club in the winter window, so that he can play with more frequency than he has been at the Mestalla.
There could also be the option of keeping him at the club, as a backup for club captain Sergio Busquets, who was far from his best against Inter Milan last night and could do with more rest and rotation.