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La masia graduates set for first team spot at barca



The Catalans are suffering from an injury crisis and could be given special dispensation to do a deal

Barcelona boss Quique Setien is still in the hunt for a new striker but will need authorisation before he can pursue any deal.

Barca are suffering from an injury crisis, exacerbated by a fresh injury to Ousmane Dembele, and could be given special dispensation to do a deal outside of the transfer window. 

Regulations grant permission for clubs to do business away from the window if circumstances dictate, and the champions are hopeful of being able to go back into the market this month.

“It’s obvious we need another attacker, there are several names on the table but it depends on many things,” said Setien. “First of all, we will need authorization.” 

Meanwhile, supporters can expect to see more of young attacker Alex Collado but Setien admitted Riqui Puig’s first-team chances could be limited this season.

Collado has made just one La Liga appearance this term, playing for five minutes as a substitute in Barca’s 2-0 defeat at Valencia in January, while Puig has played for 22 minutes across two cameos.

The pair are seen as two of the club’s brightest prospects as established players like Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets enter the latter stages of their careers, and Setien indicated that Collado’s ability to play as part of a front three means he is of more immediate use than central midfielder Puig.

“They are two very different kind of players,” Setien told reporters. 

“We try to think which player we need most at certain times of the game. They’re two very good players and they’ve both got chances to play. We’re getting to know them better every day.

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“We’re seeing what they’re capable of doing for us in every training session. It’s a time of learning.

“With Riqui there are a lot of players in the position where he would normally play but Collado, playing up front, he’s going to get chances. We’ll have to see how things go.”

Setien saw his players get knocked out of the Copa del Rey on Thursday when they were beaten 1-0 by Athletic Club.

As he prepared for Sunday’s trip to face his former club Real Betis, he reflected on the positive aspects of that game and indicated he is hopeful of ending a three-game winless run on the road in La Liga.

“It’s about the dynamic of how this team has been playing away from home for some time,” Setien said. “The other day I thought we improved a lot but unfortunately the result didn’t go our way.

“We need to try to take the good conclusions from that game and it’s a question of getting back out onto the pitch, playing another game. There’s not much time to dwell on your sorrows at this club. You need to be fresh and lucid.

“We’ve improved a lot. We’re seeing continuity but the three points are important because we want to be chasing for the title until the end.

“It’s time to ratify the improvement in the cup at a really difficult ground. We were hurt by losing the cup game but we’ve learned a lot from it.”

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