Barcelona have never had trouble in front of the goal. For years they have always had one of the most potent strike forces in Europe, largely aided by the fact they have Lionel Messi.
This season, however, they haven’t found things so easy. They have, at times, struggled in the league and were knocked out of the Copa Del Rey by Athletic Bilbao.
The team loses strength with two injured players
A serious injury to Ousmane Dembele (which could potentially rule him out for a whole season) and another long-term injury to Luis Suarez means that Barça are running low on attackers. This will put more weight on the shoulders of Messi and Griezmann.
With rumors circulating throughout January of a potential swoop for the talented Norwegian Erling Braut Haaland, will Barça be kicking themselves that they didn’t make a more concerted effort to sign the young goal machine?
With Suarez aging and the injuries they have to the frontline, Haaland surely would’ve been a perfect option. After all, Dortmund signed him for the sum of 20 million euros, a fee that seems like nothing in today’s market.
Haaland is flying at Dortmund, with 11 goals from his first 7 games in all competitions, recently netting a brace against PSG. He may not have the talent of Messi, but he certainly knows how to find the net.
The 19-year-old reached 10 Champions League goals in 7 games with his two goals against PSG, which was his Champions League debut for Dortmund. He has achieved this feat four games quicker than anyone previously. Imagine how the Blaugrana could benefit from those figures.
Barça face the tricky task of beating Napoli over two legs and, with La Liga so tight at the top, it is the small margins that will really start to make a difference within Barça’s busy schedule.
If the injury to Dembele is deemed to be severe enough then Barça may qualify for an emergency signing, under the rules of La Liga, but this would only confine them to signing free agents or people within the league.
The team’s signing options
Getafe’s Angel Rodriguez and Real Betis’ Loren Moren, Real Sociedad’s Willian Jose and even Lucas Perez at Alaves have all been touted as possible emergency signings. These would more likely be stop gaps until the summer.
In the longer term, Barça have been linked with Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, although it remains to be seen whether Arsenal would be willing to sell their prize asset in the summer.
Perhaps Barça can find a solution within their squad, but this may mean turning to youth players and none have as much experience or are as clinical in front of goal as the ice-cold Norwegian.
Barcelona won’t be the only ones kicking themselves; a host of European clubs like Man U and Arsenal were also interested in the young talent but, like Barça, failed with their efforts to sign the mercurial striker.
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Barça decides to miss the Norwegian
Barça’s decision to not sign Haaland is an example of how being aware of all the options makes a difference. Although the Norwegian football player had a great reference as a forward, the team thought that, because of his profile, he’s not what they are looking for.
It remains to be seen whether Quique Setién will be kicking himself for not pushing for the transfer or not.
It’s not time to panic, they are still in possession of the magical number 10 and Antoine Griezmann seems to be finding his form. If Messi remains fit, then anything is possible!