Not even Ousmane Dembele being left on the bench after a bout of tonsilitis served to restore Adama Traore to the Barcelona starting XI this weekend.
Everything indicated that, after five games without starting, the winger, on loan from Wolverhampton, would start against Mallorca, but Xavi Hernandez went for Memphis Depay as the final piece of his front three along with Aubameyang and Ferran Torres.
Not just that, either, but Adama did not even come on, with Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele the forwards used off the bench by the coach. That's twice in the last three games he has been unused -- it was also the case against Real Sociedad.
After a bright start after joining in January, Adama's form has dipped and his involvement has gradually dropped. It's something that has obviously affected him on an emotional level as well. In fact, after the final whistle against Mallorca, you could see him chatting with Xavi's No. 2 and brother, Oscar Hernandez.
The coaching staff are aware the player is nervous given the reduction of minutes he has had would not be easy for anyone to accept. Especially considering he is on loan and had hoped to extend his stay beyond this season.
That was never an easy option, but in the first few weeks and after an explosive start, there were various formulas on the table to make the deal permanent. An exchange involving Francisco Trincao, who is on loan at Wolves from Barça, or using him as a cable in a deal with another Jorge Mendes client.
There are now four games to go and it's evident that he's not currently high up Xavi's list of preferences. However, the coach has repeated on more than one occasion that his profile can bring a lot to the team and certain occasions and he remains an option.
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