Five candidates in the running for dream Barcelona gig
Barcelona have been given the green light to bring in a striker on an emergency basis following Ousmane Dembele’s season-ending injury.
With the January transfer window shut, Barcelona had to seek special permission from the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
Rules in Spain do allow for clubs to bring in players outside of the designated transfer window if all the relevant boxes have been ticked.
Barcelona recently applied for the right to reinforce and after a period of assessment, the RFEF have given the defending champions the green light to add.
Dembele has been ruled out for six months with a serious hamstring tear, while Luis Suarez is currently sidelined after surgery on his knee.
Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann are still available but Quique Setien is looking to bring in cover for the remainder of the term.
The rules stipulate that Barcelona have a 15-day window to make an acquisition and can only sign a player from another Spanish club, while he won’t be eligible to feature in the Champions League.
So who could Barcelona add to their ranks?
1) Luis Suarez
Barcelona’s Suarez has been a reliable figure since joining from Liverpool in July 2014, however, as mentioned earlier he is currently unavailable. Ironically, he could be replaced by a 22-year-old with the same name on-loan at Real Zaragoza. Suarez is officially a Watford player but he is yet to make an appearance for the Hornets and has excelled during three loan spells in Spain. The Colombian has hit 15 goals in 26 appearances with Zaragoza in Segunda Division this term and has spoken of a desire to play at the highest level. Well, it doesn’t come much bigger than Barcelona and his dreams could come true if the Catalan outfit can work out a deal over the next few weeks.
2) Willian Jose
Jose was one of the first names to be mentioned when it emerged that Barcelona were seeking cover. The 28-year-old is well known to La Liga fans due to his exploits with Real Sociedad. His first taste of La Liga action came during a loan spell with Real Madrid in 2014, however, he was unable to secure a permanent switch. Sociedad signed the striker in 2016 and he has hit eight goals in 22 outings this term. But the Basque side are still in the hunt for European football and are unlikely to sanction a move for their top scorer.
3) Lucas Perez
Perez is familiar to Premier League supporters, although not for the right reasons after unsuccessful spells with Arsenal and West Ham. The 31-year-old returned to Spain last summer to sign for Alaves and boasts nine goals this season. He certainly seems more settled in La Liga but Barcelona may be cautious over an approach when considering his form, or lack of, when he made a ‘big move’ to Arsenal.
4) Loren Moron
Reports recently suggested that Barcelona had made contact with Real Betis over the availability of Moron. The 26-year-old worked under Barca boss Setien at the Estadio Benito Villamarin but a move could be scuppered due to Betis’ valuation. It’s understood the Blaugrana offered £12.5million but that falls well short of Moron’s £33.2million release clause.
5) Rodrigo Moreno
Valencia confirmed they were in talks with Barcelona over a deal for Rodrigo in January but they failed to agree on terms. Reports suggest interest in the former Benfica man has since gone quiet but it could come back to the fore if they are unable to attain any of their other targets. The 28-year-old has only scored twice in the league this season.
Getafe’s Angel Rodriguez, Levante forward Roger Marti and Leganes ace Martin Braithwaite have also been suggested as potential options.
Bobbie Jackson is a reporter with an in-depth knowledge of football at all levels. A Blackpool supporter, Bobbie is also a keen rugby union, boxing, MMA and UFC follower.