Barcelona’s injury woes have taken a turn for the worse, with Robert Lewandowski the latest player to join the treatment room that already contains Pedri, Raphinha and Frenkie de Jong.
The Polish striker suffered an ankle injury against Porto in the Champions League, and he will be sidelined for a month.
Lewandowski will miss the games against Granada, Athletic Bilbao and Shakhtar Donetsk, while his participation in the upcoming El Clasico also looks bleak.
The 34-year-old will be a massive miss for the Catalan giants due to his sublime form this season.
While doubts started to creep up after his lack of consistency in the second part of the last season, Lewandowski has defied his critics with a stellar start to the new season, bagging six goals and four assists in all competitions.
The former Bayern Munich man’s absence also highlights Barca’s depleted striker options in the squad.
Despite losing Ansu Fati, Ez Abde and Ousmane Dembele in the summer, the Blaugrana signed Joao Felix as their only attacking reinforcement.
Their attempts to bring in Vitor Roque from Athletico Paranaenese earlier than next year were also thwarted by Financial Fair Play complications.
Lewandowski’s injury has come at a crucial time, and there are growing concerns that his absence might hurt Barca’s momentum.
Xavi is now tasked with the monumental job of fielding a centre forward who can deliver the goods like the Pole.
Let’s look at the few striker options the Blaugrana manager has at his disposal.
Torres is the natural option available in the squad to replace the Polish striker.
He was linked with a move away from the Catalonian capital this summer but stayed and vowed to fight for his place in the team.
The decision has proved productive for the Blaugarana, with Torres capitalising on the limited opportunities to chip in with crucial goals.
The 23-year-old has also been praised for his fighting mentality, so there are high hopes he can step up and ease the absence of Lewandowski.
Torres has an excellent record against Real Madrid and would be an obvious choice for Xavi in El Clasico.
Felix’s redemption story has been extraordinary, as he has hit the ground running at Barca since his loan move from Atletico Madrid.
Xavi’s trust in the Portuguese forward has paid dividends, with Felix netting three goals and two assists in some eye-catching displays.
Felix has been predominantly used as a left-winger, but Lewandowski’s latest injury could prompt Xavi to deploy him centrally.
The 23-year-old burst onto the scenes at Benfica after excelling in that position, so he may perform even better if he is moved to the centre.
Torres could be moved to the right wing, with Lamine Yamal on the other flank.
Xavi has always sought the youth ranks whenever there is a crisis, and the prodigious talents rarely let him down.
For instance, Yamal and Fermin Lopez have quickly established themselves as first-team regulars this season, similar to the long list of their predecessors from the academy.
Xavi may dip his toes in the youth ranks again, and the surprise package could be Pau Victor.
Victor is the leading contender to get the nod from Xavi following his impressive form with the reserve side, for whom he is the top scorer.
Currently on loan from Catalonian rivals Girona, the 21-year-old has an excellent opportunity to grab the headlines if he seizes his moment with the first team.
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