Barcelona have been boosted by the return of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen after the German was named in the squad for Wednesday’s Champions League game at home to Dynamo Kiev.
Ter Stegen – who signed a contract with the club until 2025 in October – has been out since undergoing knee surgery in August following their 8-2 humiliation to Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League.
The Catalan giants have suffered badly in the 28-year-old No 1’s absence, having failed to win any of their last four LaLiga matches, a run which has included a damaging defeat to Real Madrid in El Clasico.
Brazilian stand-in Neto made a terrible error in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Alaves, which left Barca 12th in the LaLiga standings and nine points behind leaders Real Sociedad.
But now Koeman’s fears in the goalkeeping position have been eased by the return of the Germany international for the visit of the Ukrainian side.
Barcelona have made a strong start in the Champions League, however, and will be looking to make it three wins out of three when they host Dynamo.
The positive news regarding ter Stegen’s fitness comes a couple of days after reports in Spain claimed the club would look to sell him to Bayern Munich to help ease their financial burden, despite his recent contract renewal.
Todo Fichajes, via AS, claim the Bundesliga giants view ter Stegen as an ideal replacement for the 34-year-old Manuel Neuer, with a £72m (€80m) fee being mooted.
But time is already running out for the Catalan giants’ board if they are to avoid financial meltdown – with the club even on the verge of bankruptcy, according to one report in Spain.
The club have set a deadline of November 5 to agree wage cuts so that the budget for this season can be announced, with the board hoping players agree to receive the same salaries but over a longer period of time.
This would lessen the club’s financial burden in the short-term but could come back to bite them in the long-term, and ter Stegen is only one of four players to have so far agreed to this.
Frenkie De Jong, Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique have also agreed to the condition after joining ter Stegen in signing new deals at Camp Nou last month.
Pique’s new deal will see him stay at the club until June 2024, while centre back Lenglet and midfielder de Jong have been offered contracts up to June 2026.
‘These agreements have been reached following weeks of negotiations and include a temporary salary adjustment due to the current circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 induced crisis,’ Barca said in a statement last month.