Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has confirmed summer signings Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal will make their debuts with the La Liga giants during the first leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 tie against Espanyol on 6 January. The Turkey international and the versatile Spanish wing-back joined the Catalan side during the summer window but have since been unable to play due to a Fifa transfer embargo.
The duo, nevertheless, have been training with the rest of the squad since the pre-season and are now ready to feature in the derby against Espanyol, either as starters or coming off the bench, after being included in Enrique's squad.
"Both of them will get the chance to wear the Barcelona shirt and play a part in the match. We have GPS data from their training sessions that shows that they are perfectly capable of playing the full 90 minutes," the manager said a press conference ahead of the game, as quoted by AS.
"Arda can play in the middle or out wide, and I dare say Aleix Vidal could play in any of three positions, either at full-back, centre-back or even out on the wing. He can play in any of these positions depending on what we need to get from certain matches. Both players have outstanding skills."
Barcelona face Espanyol for the second time in the space of five days after being held to a goalless draw in their La Liga encounter at the weekend.They will play each other again in the second leg of the Copa del Rey on 13 January.
"This is different competition, over two legs. I know how we're going to set up. We want to be on top as we were at Cornellà, we're going to treat it as if there is no second leg. I don't know how Espanyol are going to approach this game," Enrique said.
"Having looked back on the previous game I think we played very well. We created six or seven clear goal-scoring opportunities and Espanyol defended excellently, however, we still carved out chances to win. There is some fine-tuning to be done and that's what we're working on. The players are itching to play tomorrow and give the fans something to be happy about again."
Many in Spain criticised Espanyol after their La Liga draw for a perceived physical style of play. Asked whether he believes the game was violent, Enrique said: "I'm certain [the cup game] will be a different kind of match to the weekend's and I'd rather not get into that kind of discussion.
"I didn't add fuel to the fire when I was dying to say something so I'm not going to do it now. I'll keep my opinions on the matter to myself, we're going to try and do better."
Sergi Roberto will miss the game due to an injury while Enrique has opted to rest Claudio Bravo, Douglas, Sandro and Adriano.