Manchester United’s upcoming Europa League opponents Barcelona are dealing with an injury blow to key midfielder Sergio Busquets.
The veteran midfielder is still a key part of this Barcelona side, starring under his former teammate Xavi.
Busquets was substituted in the eighth minute of Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Sevilla, and had to be helped off the pitch by medical staff after twisting his ankle.
AS report Busquets has only missed 13 matches out of a possible 700 due to injury during his time at Barcelona.
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Barcelona’s Busquets injury panic
Busquets is not yet entirely ruled out of the United tie. He has to now undergo tests to determine the severity of the problem.
United visit the Nou Camp on February 16, before the return leg at Old Trafford on February 23. The Athletic report Busquets is initially expected to miss two to three weeks.
Busquets, 34, has made 18 league appearances for Barcelona this season and 30 in all competitions.
Barcelona replaced the midfielder with Franck Kessie, and could change their system to deploy Frenkie de Jong in a deeper role.
De Jong’s time at Barcelona has been impacted by Busquets, who occupies De Jong’s preferred position.
Dutch analyst Jan van Halst was quoted by Voetball Primeur earlier this year: “If you buy him, put him [De Jong] in this position. If you still have Sergio Busquets, then you shouldn’t buy him.”
This came after De Jong told NOS: “I like to be the first player to receive the ball from the defenders. In the national team I play differently compared to Barca. And I think this one fits me better.”
Busquets’ injury could negatively impact Barcelona, but it will give De Jong what he wants, landing him with a prominent role against his former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, and the club who wanted to buy him last summer, Manchester United.
Barcelona have already seen Ousmane Dembele ruled out of the ties due to injury. They are in good form domestically, sitting top of the La Liga table.
Meanwhile United have Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek ruled out with injury. Casemiro should be completely fresh, after being ruled out of the preceding three Premier League games with suspension.