Barcelona goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen is set to miss the Spanish Super Cup first-leg against Sevilla on Sunday (14 August) after he sprained a ligament in his left knee during Thursday morning training. The development is a blow for the La Liga giants amid reports linking the German international with a move to Manchester City.
The 24-year-old has been the number one choice in goal for Luis Enrique in the Champions League and Copa del Rey competitions during the last two campaigns, with veteran Claudio Bravo, being preferred for La Liga duty.
Ter Stegen has often been reported as being unlikely to put up with the role of a bit-part player for a third consecutive season and would be ready to leave the club if Barcelona fails to assure him of starting between the sticks in all three competitions.
The speculations have again re-surfaced after Ter Stegen was recently spotted with his agent in a meeting with Barcelona officials at the Camp Nou.
Sport claimed the German had informed the club that he had received a big-money offer to move to City and wanted assurances over his goalkeeping role if he is to stay at the club. Barcelona have however told the keeper he is going nowhere, meaning that the only way City could sign him would be by meeting his €80m (£68.8m, $89.2m) release clause in full as he is still under contract.
Daily Express has reported Pep Guardiola has not given up on signing the stopper while Luis Enrique has failed to confirm he is ready to fulfil Ter Stegen's wishes by handing him the number one jersey in all competitions. Furthermore, the boss decided to delay the debate during the 3-2 victory over Sampdoria on Wednesday night by using all his three goalkeepers – Bravo, Ter Stegen and third-choice Jordi Masip.
He did however confirm he had already made a decision about his number one choice ahead of the first official game of the season against Sevilla. But this decision could put him on a collision course with Bravo who could also force his exit should Luis Enrique put Ter Stegen in goal in the first games of the campaign, as it will come before the end of the transfer window on 31 August.
However, the saga seems set to continue after Barcelona confirmed Ter Stegen was going to miss at least the first official game of the campaign against Sevilla due to a knee injury.
"Marc Andre Ter Stegen sprained a ligament in his left knee during the Thursday morning training session following the 3-2 defeat of Sampdoria," the club confirmed. "This means that he will be unable to play in the Spanish Super Cup first-leg in Seville this coming Sunday. The German goalkeeper's availability beyond that will depend on how his injury progresses."