Barcelona boss Xavi insists Adama Traore is still ‘important’ despite the Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee’s lack of playing time.
Traore made a superb start to life back at his boyhood club with four assists in his first six games to draw praise from head coach Xavi. But the return to form and favour of contract rebel Ousmane Dembele has cost Traore his place in Barcelona’s starting line-up.
The Wolves man has only played 25 minutes of La Liga football since February and was an unused substitute as Barcelona edged past Sevilla 1-0 at the weekend. Barcelona president Joan Laporta has already cast doubt over Traore’s long-term future at the Camp Nou after claiming the Catalan club aren’t in a position to meet the £25m clause to make his loan from Wolves permanent.
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Barcelona are fighting on two fronts this season and return to Europa League action with a quarter-final tie against Eintracht Frankfurt this evening. A La Liga clash with Levante awaits on Sunday before the second leg versus Frankfurt next week and Xavi insists Traore will get his chance.
“He will be important, we have games tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, we need to rotate,” said Xavi. “It depends on everyone’s physical feeling, their form, knocks, feelings. Adama will be very important.”
Dembele has become a key player under Xavi since reclaiming his starting berth from Traore and Barcelona have reportedly re-opened contract discussions with the former Borussia Dortmund man. Traore was viewed as Dembele’s long-term replacement at the Camp Nou, but he might not be needed if the French winger extends.
“I hope he stays,” Xavi said of Dembele at his pre-Frankfurt press conference. “For me, he’d already be signed but it’s to do with the club. We’ve not got the best financial situation in history that’s the way it is. We have to tighten the belt a bit, make the numbers work, everyone is working 24 hours a day. For me Ousmane is a key player.”
What should Wolves do with Adama Traore if Barcelona don’t sign him permanently? Have your say in the comments section below…
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