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Josep Bartomeu hopes to keep Ansu Fati at Barcelona ‘for life’ despite transfer speculation

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has revealed he wants to keep Ansu Fati at the club ‘for life’, despite speculation linking the winger with a move away from the Nou Camp.

The 17-year-old academy product scored eight goals in 32 appearances during his breakthrough season, winning admirers in the Premier League

Fati was reortedly the subject of an £88million bid this term, but Bartomeu insists he has not been involved in formal negotiations with any other club, and he plans to offer the player a new contract.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says winger Ansu Fati is not for sale this summer

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says winger Ansu Fati is not for sale this summer

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says winger Ansu Fati is not for sale this summer

‘There have been no formal offers but there has been interest from some clubs,’ Bartomeu told Sport. ‘Barcelona’s answer has been: “No.”‘

‘He’s essential for the future of the club. Ansu is not for sale. He represents the academy the players come out of, learn from and consolidate themselves in the first team.

‘He’s unique because he jumped from the youth team to the first team. There are not many players like him and Barcelona cannot sell him, even if it would be an economic solution for the club in the times of this pandemic.

Fati produced eight goals and one assist in 32 appearances during his debut season

Fati produced eight goals and one assist in 32 appearances during his debut season

Fati produced eight goals and one assist in 32 appearances during his debut season

‘At no time have we considered selling him. On the contrary: what we have to do is help him in his growth and get him to sign a new contract in the future, so that he plays here for life.’

Fati, who was born in Guinnea-Bissau, is already under contract until the summer of 2022, but Barca chief Bartomeu wants to tie the forward down to a fresh long-term deal. 

‘He signed the contract as a Barcelona B player. Now the plan is to transfer him to the first team,’ said the Blaugrana chief. ‘He’s going to the first team because he’s earned it.

The winger celebrates scoring his first goal for Barcelona against Osasuna in August 2019

The winger celebrates scoring his first goal for Barcelona against Osasuna in August 2019

The winger celebrates scoring his first goal for Barcelona against Osasuna in August 2019

‘Along with Riqui Puig and Ronald Araujo, he represents La Masia, which makes young players capable of growing into the first team. They show that, although some people say it doesn’t work, continues to generate footballers.

‘Generations don’t always come out, but now there are three players who are here to stay.’

Fati has undooubtedly made a fantastic start to his professional career following La Liga debut in August 2019, but Bartomeu remains reluctant to draw comparisons between the winger and fellow La Masia graduate Lionel Messi. 

‘He’s only 17, let’s not put pressure on him,’ Bartomeu continued. ‘Now he has to play and train with the best. Let him get into the team. The role that awaits him will be decided by him when appropriate. It is still early.’ 

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