Barcelona coach Quique Setien is on the search for a new no. 9 as the inevitable departure of the only no. 9 now on the squad Luis Suarez turns 33 in a couple of days.
The latest injuries to Luis Suarez has reignited the concern surrounding the Barcelona front trio for several years now, that’s the absence of a suitable no. 9. Antoine Greizmann, Lionel Messi, Ansu Fati and Carles Perez are all the players available but sadly, none can properly replace the role of the Uruguayan international.
As such, according to AS, Barca’s Setien, Eric Abidal and Ramon Planes scheduled a meeting on Monday to talk about this dilemma. The present obsession surrounding Lautaro Martinez could end up being an issue for the Catalans as they cannot sign the Argentine in January and they’re in immediate need of a proper striker who can play as a substitute for the aging Suarez and eventually take over the role after his departure.
Now they face the dilemma of signing an immediate top-level solution and wait for any plans for Lautaro or sign a temporary replacement as they did with Kevin Prince Boateng, which did not work well for the Spanish giants.
As a result of the meeting held on Monday to decide on the future of the club and review the transfer policy since Quique Setien is now officially the new Coaching, many potential candidates have emerged as an immediate solution to the number 9 issue.
The only candidate on the list to be capable of being a long term replacement for this problem is RB Leipzig striker, Timo Werner. Sport reports that Werner is the most preferred target for the Catalans as he is reputed to soon be the top scorer in Bundesliga, beating Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, who’s currently tied at 20 goals. The report claims that the Spanish champions are looking to secure the 23-year-old for a $30 Million bargain given his current form.
A candidate who is a favorite for Suarez’s replacement is the Arsenal captain: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. In accordance with Mundo Deportivo, the Gabon international is on Top of the list for Barca. While the player is bound by contract before 2021, he is very keen on making the movement occur and is doing everything possible to transfer. Sources near the player such as Samuel Umtiti and Ousman Dembele show that the player would like to make the move in order to play Champions League football which he currently is unable to do at Emirates.
Another candidate that has caught Barca’s eyes is Rodrigo. The Brazilian-born Spaniard has a design that could very well suit the Blaugrana too. His characteristic of being physically stronger than Aubameyang also gives him an upper hand over the Gabonese striker. The 28-year-old, nevertheless, has a contract that runs 1 more year than that of Aubameyang.
A cheap alternative to the players mentioned above, Olivier Giroud celebrated his 2018 World Cup along with Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and Antoine Griezmann. His ability to join extremely well with Greizmann could make him an great short-term solution to the No. 9 difficulty as he’s immense experience under his belt.
The oldest player on this list, Llorente is quite familiar with La Liga, having played for both Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla for a total of 363 appearances. He recently moved to Napoli on a free transfer from Spurs, which makes him a cheap short-term option.
AS reports that Barca will signal a center forward in the January transfer window only if the economic parameters, set at $30 million, are met.