Koeman eyeing new centre-back as Barcelona delay Pique surgery decision

By Sports Desk November 23, 2020

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman is open to signing a new centre-back in January to compensate for the loss of Gerard Pique to a potential long-term injury.

Pique hobbled off during the second half of Barca's 1-0 LaLiga loss to Atletico Madrid on Saturday with knee ligament damage.

There are fears that the injury may keep the Spain international sidelined for the next six months, effectively ruling him out for the rest of the campaign.

Knee surgeon specialist Dr. Ramon Cugat, who recently operated on Ansu Fati, has revealed he will meet with Pique on Wednesday and a decision will be made on whether he should go under the knife.

"It is a lot to discuss how long he will be out because every knee is different," Cugat told Mundo Deportivo. "We must be prudent, discuss it with the player and then decide.

"We still don't know which treatment we will use, whether surgical or not. The objective is to make the knee as stable as possible."

Providing a further update on the damage sustained by Pique at the weekend, Cugat added: "In additional to the cruciate injury, he has injured the internal lateral ligament.

"That can be cured with biological therapies. In this case there is no fluid on the knee, which plays in favour of possible conservative treatment, rather than surgery."

Pique has featured 10 times in all competitions for Barcelona this term and has been a key man at the back since returning to the club in 2008.

Since the start of the 2018-19 season, Barca have failed to win any of the three LaLiga games Pique has not started, conceding an average of two goals a game compared to 0.9 when he is in the side.

And Koeman says it is possible the Catalan giants will strengthen at the back when the transfer window reopens in January.

"We know that it is an important loss for us, and possibly for some time," Koeman said. "We are looking and have previously looked. 

"One of those positions we are looking at is that central issue. But today we cannot do anything. If there is any possibility we can then I will have to talk to the club.

"He has been here for many years, he has a huge personality and it is a significant loss. It is sad for the team and for the club. It is difficult, but we have to accept and see how we solve this issue."

Koeman is also without Samuel Umtiti, Ronald Araujo and Sergi Roberto, while makeshift centre-backs Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong are not in contention to face Dynamo Kiev.

Academy product Oscar Mingueza has been promoted from the B team and is part of Barca's 19-man squad for Tuesday's Champions League clash in Ukraine.

"It is possible that he will play," Koeman, who has also taken the decision to rest Lionel Messi, said at a pre-match news conference on Monday.

"We cannot risk Araujo when you take into account how few centre-backs we have."

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