Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez strongly refuted any possibility of forward Ansu Fati leaving the club amid transfer links with Manchester United.
It comes after reports that the 20-year-old’s agent Jorge Mendes was attempting to mastermind a move away from the Catalan giants for their youth prodigy over a lack of game-time – he has fallen down the pecking order at the Camp Nou following Robert Lewandowski’s arrival this season.
Fati has made just nine starts for the club across all competitions this campaign while both of his appearances for Spain at the World Cup also came from the bench. This lack of regular starting opportunities has brought suggestions he is seeking to leave Barca at the end of the campaign.
However, his boss Xavi has dismissed these reports with strong comments during his pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s clash against Villarreal this weekend. The Barca coach reiterated his belief that Fati was a hugely important player for the club and not only for the future.
"I don't understand why this is being talked about now in our press conferences," Xavi responded to a question over the striker’s future. "There is no transfer window now so Ansu is not for sale. He is a very important player for us now and for the future.
"I have extraordinary confidence in him. Whether he has more or fewer minutes will depend on his performance. I really have blind faith in him. He will be a very important player for the present and the future. But he must be patient. There is too much rushing in everything."
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The coach added that "the January market has ended and I don't know why we are talking about this. We have to be focused on what we are at stake. For me it is clear that he must continue."
Ansu Fati became the youngster Barca player in 80 years when he made his debut as a 16-year-old in 2019 and went on to become the youngest Spain international in 85 years – while being the youngest ever scorer for both his club and national side.
His record-breaking continued in his teenage years as he became the youngest ever scorer in El Clasico before becoming the youngest scorer in the Champions League, while he scored from 11 goals of his first 16 shots of his career.
The forward’s remarkable progress was halted in the 2020/21 season after he suffered a serious knee injury which ultimately ruled him out for the remaining six months of the campaign and has seen him struggle to maintain regular fitness in the years since.