Gerard Deulofeu has only been back at Barcelona a matter of weeks and speculation over his future has started already. According to The Sun, both he and seldom-seen striker Paco Alcacer are prepared to leave the Camp Nou as early as January with their opportunities drying up under Ernesto Valverde.
Despite Ousmane Dembele being ruled out for up to four months with a thigh injury, Deulofeu has not featured in any of Barca’s last three La Liga fixtures. And this is despite a bright start to the campaign which saw Deulofeu impress on the right hand side of a front three.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman copped plenty of criticism for his treatment of the naturally gifted wideman who was once tipped to be the second coming of Lionel Messi when making his name in Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy.
However, with Deulofeu falling down the pecking order at the Camp Nou already, the Spain international still has a lot to do to prove Koeman wrong.
"I spoke to Gerard and it's a difficult situation for the player," Koeman told the BBC in January before he joined AC Milan on loan. "If he finds a solution to go and get game-time then it's no problem.”
Koeman was critical on a number of occasions about Deulofeu’s perceived lack of work rate, something that infuriated Unai Emery during a 2014/15 spell at Sevilla.
Though it appears to be his end-product rather than a lack of tracking back that him struggling to make the grade with the La Liga giants. Deulofeu produced only one assist in his five La Liga games for Barca this season and a wasteful final ball has become an unwelcome theme.
Fortunately for Koeman, his decision to dispense with Deulofeu cannot really be argued with.