Barcelona-bound Vitor Roque stretchered off in tears

Stuart Telford
Stuart Telford
  • 22 Sept 2023 19:55 BST
  • 3 min read
Barcelona-bound Vitor Roque.
© ProShots

Barcelona are sweating on the fitness of Vitor Roque after the Brazilian prodigy was stretchered off in Athletico Paranaense's 2-1 win over Internacional on Thursday.

Barca have agreed to pay Athletico an eventual €40 million for Roque's signature, with the striker pencilled in for a January move, with a summer transfer remaining a possibility.

Article continues under the video

It is a significant outlay for the cash-strapped club, but one seen as crucial with primary striker Robert Lewandowski into his 35th year. They can scant afford for him to be injured in the longer term.

READ: Barcelona STILL don't know when Vitor Roque will join

But that is their worry as things stand, after the young forward went down under a challenge from Internacional defender Nicolas Hernandez just seven minutes into the game at Athletico's Ligga Arena.

Ruptured ankle ligament

"The suspicion is that the ligament in Vitor Roque's right ankle has ruptured," reported Curitiba-based journalist Nadja Mauad. "One more examination will be done to confirm the first prognosis."

Whilst the club have yet to confirm how long Roque will be sidelined, injuries of that ilk normally take around three months to recover from. That would take the youngster to December, seriously inhibiting his ability to be ready for a January move.

READ: Joao Felix reveals why he took a PAY CUT to join Barcelona

Barca might be content to delay his arrival until next summer anyway.

They remain in the same €1.35 billion debt they were in when Lionel Messi left on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2021 - although it has been restructured - and they were largely restricted to Bosmans and loan deals this summer.

Lewandowski also remains at the peak of his powers for now, and has opened the new season with four goals and four assists from six appearances across La Liga and Champions League.

Roque has spoken publicly about his desire to work under the prolific Pole, but that will now have to wait.

Never miss the next big transfer!

Get the latest transfer insights and analyses directly in your mailbox.