Barcelona's medical report on how long Ousmane Dembele will be sidelined for is not the final word. The last word will lie with a commission of experts working with La Liga to determine if his time out of action is indeed more than five months and, therefore, if Barça can turn to the transfer market.
The panel is usually made up of Baró (ex-Real Valladolid), Fernández Jaén (Cemtro Clinic), Cobián (ex-Deportivo de la Coruña), Pérez San Roque and Ardèvol (ex-FC Barcelona). As explained by SPORT, Ardèvol will not be involved this time because of his evident links with Barcelona.
Three & six months
Barça have sent the commission all the information they have on Dembele's injury, including the expected layoff, details of the surgery etc etc. It will also include analysis from the specialist Lasse Lempainen, a member of Sakai Orava's prestigious team in Finland, who performed the operation.
The time of six months out caught the attention. Not just because it was more than the stipulated five months required to turn to the market, but because it was more than when Dembele had the same injury in 2017. That time, he was out for 106 days. The injury was identical, just on the other leg.
Therefore, there's a risk that the commission decides that Dembele's injury is not as bad as Barça have said. These experts perform their jobs with maximum rigor and professionalism. It would not be the first time they have turned down a request like this. Ask Villarreal.
It is still not certain that Barça will be able to sign a replacement to cover the loss of Dembele.