With new signing Ousmane Dembélé ruled out until the new year with a hamstring injury, Barcelona face a selection dilemma; Joe Walker runs through Ernesto Valverde's options.
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Barcelona face a conundrum after losing new signing Ousmane Dembélé to a hamstring injury during Saturday's 2-1 victory away to Getafe.
The France forward lasted less than half an hour of the comeback win and will now miss the remainder of the UEFA Champions League group stage before returning in 2018 – leaving coach Ernesto Valverde with plenty to ponder. UEFA.com examines his options:
The Barça academy graduate replaced Dembélé on Saturday and would be the most natural replacement for the winger in their current 4-3-3 system alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. The 23-year-old was challenged at the start of the season to compete for a starting berth and may well have found an early opportunity to stake a claim. He has played six times in all competitions this season, laying on two goals for team-mates.
The versatile midfielder scored the equaliser at the weekend and has operated as part of Barcelona's front three before. While not possessing the same kind of pace as Dembélé or Deulofeu, his close control and eye for a pass mean he is more than capable of filling the void.
Although his game time has been limited since joining from Valencia last summer, this might now be Alcácer's time to shine. A natural No9 with a poacher's instinct, the 24-year-old would have to adapt to a role that is somewhat outside his comfort zone – but he has shown previously that he is willing to do a job for the team. Having dropped out of the Spain reckoning since his move, he will be hoping he gets the nod.