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Barcelona dealt major injury blow ahead of Man Utd clash as star set for extended absence

Barcelona dealt major injury blow ahead of Man Utd clash as star set for extended absence

Ousmane Dembele is set to miss Barcelona's Europa League clash against Man Utd through injury.

Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele is expected to miss six weeks through injury, according to reports, which would rule him out of his side's Europa League play-off round tie against Manchester United.

Dembele has been in top form for recent weeks, and his performance in his side's recent 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey was rated as one of his finest in a Barcelona shirt.

He also scored the only goal in the 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid earlier this month, and looked Barca's most threatening player going forward on the night.

Dembele has been struck by injury issues in past seasons, though has been a regular in Xavi's side this campaign. He has eight goals in all competitions, placing him second behind Robert Lewandowski in Barca's top scorer charts.

In worrying news for Les Cules, however, the France international was forced off after 25 minutes during the 1-0 victory over Girona on Saturday with a suspected leg injury.

Initial assessments indicated that an absence of three to four weeks was considered 'optimistic', and with Barca taking on United in the first leg of their Europa League play-off round tie on February 16, there were fears that Dembele would miss that game.

Those fears appear to have been well-placed.

Dembele set to miss Man Utd clash

According to Spanish journalist Fernando Polo, Dembele will be ruled out of action for around six weeks, which means he is set to miss both legs of the Europa League tie against United.

Barcelona play seven matches in February, partially due to the fixture build-up as a result of the World Cup, and a further three games over the month of March at present. If they do progress through to the next stage of the Europa League, two more matches will be scheduled for the latter month.

His injury will be a huge blow for Barcelona, and a major boost for United. Dembele's directness, trickery and goalscoring ability make him a vital part of Xavi's side at Camp Nou, and the Spanish boss will find it difficult to replace him.

Former Manchester City forward Ferran Torres could slot in on the right side of attack, whilst Ansu Fati, who has not yet returned to top form following a serious knee injury, is another option.

But it is Raphinha, who has often played on the opposite flank to Dembele this term, that appears the most obvious replacement for the France star to take on a side he knows well from his days in the Premier League with Leeds.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona, Premier League, Europa League