Huge injury blow for Barcelona as key figure ruled out for five weeks as list of absentees grows

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After Philippe Coutinho’s exit was confirmed on Monday, Barcelona were dealt a huge injury blow just hours later with news of an Ousmane Dembele setback.

The Catalan giants got off to a disappointing start in La Liga this past weekend, falling to a 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao as they began the defence of their crown.

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As noted by BBC Sport, they green lit Coutinho’s exit to Bayern Munich on a season-long loan deal with an option to buy on Monday, and now coach Ernesto Valverde has seen his options limited further.

Lionel Messi missed the defeat in Bilbao through an injury of his own and so it remains to be seen when he returns, and now the official club site has confirmed that Dembele will be sidelined for around five weeks after suffering a serious thigh injury.

To add to that, Sport note how Luis Suarez also picked up a knock in the first game of the new season and has been ruled out of facing Real Betis this weekend.

In turn, it’s not the news that Valverde needed and so it remains to be see how the reigning La Liga champions line up on Sunday night.

As for Dembele, the 22-year-old was blighted by injuries in his first season with Barcelona, but showed his quality last year with 14 goals and nine assists in 42 appearances across all competitions.

With that in mind, he would have been desperate to show his worth again this season, but he’ll now face a lengthy spell on the sidelines recovering from another setback with the pressure seemingly being piled on summer signing Antoine Griezmann to offer a goal threat against Betis this weekend.

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