Barcelona faces a selection crisis ahead of the Jan. 2 match at Mallorca after three more players tested positive for COVID-19.
Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and Gavi are now isolating at home following a positive PCR test, though Barca say the trio are in good health.
It means Barca boss Xavi could be without up to 14 senior players when La Liga resumes this weekend through a combination of coronavirus, injury and suspension.
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The squad constraints come at the worst possible time for Barcleona, as the club sits seventh in the La Liga table, and will be hoping to offload players in the January transfer window to ease the wage bill.
Which Barcelona players are out?
LATEST NEWS | The players O. Dembélé, Umtiti, and Gavi have tested positive for Covid-19 following PCR tests administered to the team. The players are in good health and are in isolation at their homes. The Club has informed the relevant authorities. pic.twitter.com/zLC6wxDHvP
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 29, 2021
As well as the new additions Dembele, Umtiti and Gavi, the Barcelona squad was already dealing with unavailable players. Jordi Alba, Alejandro Balde, Clement Lenglet and Dani Alves all tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week and will be unavailable for the trip to Mallorca.
Alves in particular had been hoping to make his (second) debut for the club, finally allowed to register with the January transfer window opening on the first of the month.
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Those absentees are compounded by an ever-growing injury list and suspensions, while a number of players are only just returning to fitness and may not be ready for match action.
Sergi Roberto will not return until the spring after having surgery on a thigh problem, Memphis Depay is out with a hamstring injury, fullback Sergino Dest has been struggling with an adductor issue and Sergio Busquets is suspended for yellow card accumulation.
Depay’s absence has been the most painful, having missed the last three games due to his hamstring problem. Depay has been the lone in-form Barcelona attacker this season, scoring eight league goals in 15 appearances.
Teenagers Pedri and Ansu Fati could return but both would be way short on match fitness having been sidelined since November with thigh and knee injuries, respectively. The same applies to forward Martin Braithwaite, who had knee surgery in September and was initially not expected to return until mid-January. Philippe Coutinho could see time, after being stuck on the bench the last two matches.
Xavi will be wary of throwing the returnees back into competitive action too quickly in case they suffer a recurrence, but he may have no option given the paucity of options elsewhere.