In a surprise move just before the deadline, Barcelona’s young star, Ansu Fati will continue his career in the Premier League with Brighton & Hove Albion.

Tottenham, Chelsea & Dortmund miss out

Brighton struck a surprise loan agreement with Barcelona for the 20-year-old forward. The season-long deal does not include an obligation to buy. Brighton will cover a large portion of Fati’s salary per Barca’s demands.

The loan is a major coup for Brighton as it prepares for its first European campaign. It was reported that discussions were had with Tottenham, Chelsea as well as Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund. The loan will allow Fati to continue his development while potentially facilitating moves for Barcelona targets Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo.

Ansu Fati joining Brighton after injuries and Barca finances

Fati burst onto the scene for Barcelona as a 16-year-old in 2019, becoming the club’s youngest-ever goalscorer. Initially, Fati formed a strong connection with Lionel Messi. Barcelona faithful often saw Fati as the long-term heir to Messi’s throne at Camp Nou.

However, two serious knee injuries derailed Fati’s progress over the last two seasons. He has struggled for regular playing time under Xavi and finds himself behind the likes of Raphinha, Gavi and Robert Lewandowski in the pecking order. In 2021 he signed a new contract with Barca through 2027 with a €1 billion buyout clause. However, Fati’s own father has expressed frustration over his lack of minutes under manager Xavi.

For Barcelona, loaning out Fati would help ease their financial issues and even possibly open space for new arrivals. However, losing one of their most gifted academy graduates would be a major blow, even if only temporarily.

The Catalan club’s president Joan Laporta recently reaffirmed his faith in Fati.

“Ansu is extraordinary, we are all in love,” Laporta said. “He is just another member of the squad, who we want to improve. We are very happy that he is still with us.”

Yet, Barcelona’s financial condition forced Laporta’s hand with a sizeable loan offer too good to pass up at this time.

Minimal time left in this transfer window

With the transfer window set to slam shut on Sep. 1, it is time for Fati to resolve his future. A move to Brighton should give him plenty of playing time so long as he stays injury-free. Brighton, along with Premier League sides Liverpool and West Ham are heading to the Europa League Group Stage next month which will give Ansu Fati plenty of opportunity to display his talent not only in the UK but in Europe as well.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Photo Players Images