Ansu Fati: Can Barcelona’s new No.10 help Koeman and co get back on track?

Ansu Fati of Barcelona

Ansu Fati stole the headlines after scoring the winner against Levante on Sunday, the game which also marked his return from a serious knee injury he sustained last year. The Barcelona’s new No.10 was only on the pitch for no less than 15 minutes but the impact he brought into the attack was reminiscent of legendary Lionel Messi, who bid a shocking farewell to the La Liga club in the summer and also from whom Fati has inherited his current jersey No.10. Registering their first win after three games, Barca must have restored a bit of momentum but the biggest question is whether Fati can be the new leader in the post-Messi era.

Ansu Fati – the perfect heir to Messi’s throne

It would be always a stretch to compare any players in the world football with Lionel Messi due to the Argentine’s illustrious career and otherworldly talent. Memphis Depay, Barca’s summer recruit, was bought to reduce the burden off Messi but as it turned out, the Argentine shockingly left his long-time club for PSG. Even Depay couldn’t have expected it and all of a sudden, his responsibility was also doubled. However, the Dutch forward looked like another run of the mill player during Barca’s winless run in recent weeks. Despite starting the season brilliantly, he failed to make a difference in difficult situations.

Enter Fati. The 18-year-old already announced him to the world stage after racking more than 10 goals combinedly in the last two seasons. His stature also rose when he entered the Spanish national team after catching the attention of former Barca manager Luis Enrique. If not for the serious knee injury, which kept him out of action for around a year, we could have seen Fati’s name spelt in the same vein as the world’s current best young footballers. After witnessing his heroics last night, it is safe to say that it is better late than never.

If you compare Messi and Fati’s formative years, a lot of similar traits can be found – from rising through the ranks of the renowned La Masia academy to making an impact at the first team with their premature talent. 

While it is difficult to replicate the career of Messi, Fati, nonetheless, can bring a more or less similar impact in the Argentine’s absence and has the chance to become a club icon.

Can Koeman turn things around with Fati’s return?

Ronald Koeman has been under immense scrutiny after the poor run of results in recent weeks. Although the Dutch gaffer knows his future is not guaranteed, he can breathe a sigh of relief for the time being after Sunday’s victory and as he will have Fati under his wings. Furthermore, with youngsters like Ronald Araujo, Pablo Gavi, Sergino Dest and Nico Gonzalez producing impressive performances consistently, Koeman would believe he can turn the fortunes of the Catalan club.