As Barcelona got their LaLiga Santander campaign off to an excellent start with a 4-2 victory over Real Sociedad last Sunday, one of the biggest causes for optimism on the night was the performance of Martin Braithwaite.
The Danish striker fired home a brace on a night where he demonstrated his value to the club’s hierarchy, who had been keen to sell him this summer.
Braithwaite received a further boost on Friday as Ronald Koeman launched a strong defence of the 30-year-old in his press conference ahead of the trip to face Athletic Club on Saturday night.
“I believe that [Braithwaite] has to stay,” said Koeman.
“He is a player who works very well for us.
“He plays in different positions and the other day [against Real Sociedad] he showed that he is very useful.”
Barcelona’s shortages in terms of striking options at the start of this season have been seized upon by Braithwaite, and he will be looking to do the same at San Mames, where he is set to line up alongside Antoine Griezmann and Memphis Depay up front.