Barcelona have now shortlisted five strikers and one among them in a clear cut favourite.
Ernesto Valverde and Luis Suarez will be fuming about the number of chances the Barcelona’s number 9 missed in the game against Lyon to take the first leg lead to Nou Camp. The former Liverpool forward was in the receiving end from the fans and struggled to find the back of the net on Tuesday.
But, when Lionel Messi was injured, Luis Suarez was the man to lead the team in the front line by scoring goals and assisting his teammates. There were many claims that the striker has already turned 32 and has been ageing which in turn is making Barcelona sign a replacement for him.
In order to sign someone with a view of the long term, Barcelona are keen to replace him before it’s too long. The club let go of Paco Alcacer and Munir El Haddadi in the January transfer window on a permanent basis and welcomed Kevin Prince Boateng until the end of the season.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the Blaugrana have shortlisted five strikers and the list includes the likes of Maxi Gomez, Andre Silva, Luka Jovic, Nicolas Pepe, and Rafael Leao. From these crop of players, Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez remains the favourite to move to Nou Camp in the forthcoming transfer window.
— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) February 21, 2019
Maxi Gomez favourite to be long-term Luis Suarez replacement.https://t.co/hphsOxhIgi
— Everything Barca (@BarcaOnFS) February 21, 2019
There is no doubt about the admiration and interest from the club, but Celta Vigo are not ready to let their star striker go for a fee lesser than 50 million euros which Barcelona are not ready to spend having already forked out 90 million on Frenkie De Jong.
Andre Silva is currently plying his trade with Sevilla on loan from AC Milan. The Portuguese International has been in fine fettle and the Spanish club is likely to activate the option to sign him for a fee of 35 million euros.
Luka Jovic is another striker who is being tracked by Ernesto Valverde. But, various reports claim that Real Madrid have made him the number one priority and Florentino Perez desperately wants to sign him.
Chelsea have joined the race to sign Luka Jovic in the summer. Real Madrid and Barcelona are also interested. Chelsea are in contacts with Jovic’s agent Ramadani and they’ve suggested a fee of around €45m for Luka Jovic. [Bild] pic.twitter.com/wDaAPQH4Wl
— Nouman (@nomifooty) February 13, 2019
Nicolas Pepe, who has scored 17 and set up 11 for his teammates from 28 games this season is another name being linked with Barcelona. However, it is understood that Lille are ready to do business only if the buying club decides to offer no lesser than 80 million euros.
Rafael Leao is the teammate of Nicolas Pepe at Lille. Portuguese International is one of the prodigies coming in the first team and has scored 7 goals this term.
It is no doubt that Barcelona will be eager to add more fire to their attacking force. It will be interesting to see whether they go for a stop gap backup or a direct replacement for Luis Suarez.