BARCELONA fear wonderkid Ansu Fati could need a third operation as his knee injury is failing to heal.
The Spain attacker, 18, suffered a ruptured internal meniscus after notching five goals and three assists in the first ten games.
And Catalan radio station Alacarta say the problem has not repaired well, meaning a decision might be made within days over further surgery.
Initial reports suggested Fati’s left-knee injury, picked up in Barcelona’s 5-2 defeat of Real Betis on November 7, could keep him out for five months.
And Barca even hoped the former Manchester United target would be back BEFORE April.
Now, though, they just want the problem cleared up for good in its own time.
That approach seems to vindicate Nou Camp boss Ronald Koeman’s pleas for patience last month.
Koeman said then: “You have to have respect for him and I am not in favour of rushing things.
“When there is an update, we will communicate it from the club.
“The most important thing is that he recovers calmly.
“He has a lot of future ahead of him and you have to do things right.”
Fati became Barca’s second-youngest debutant ever last season, aged 16 years and 298 days.
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
And he has outscored Barcelona’s club legend Lionel Messi at the same age.
United were reportedly interested in meeting Fati’s £154million release clause last summer.
But now that fee to trigger his departure is thought to be £367m.