Barca's want for big name in summer is hampering striker efforts now

Barcelona’s desire to sign Neymar or Lautaro Martinez this summer is hampering efforts to bring a striker in now… they cannot afford more costly January mistakes after Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho

  • Barcelona may renew attempts to bring Brazilian Neymar back to club in summer
  • Or signing striker Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan will be the priority this June
  • LaLiga giants want for a big name this summer is hampering striker efforts now
  • Forward Luis Suarez is having rehabilitation after suffering long-term knee injury
  • Club recovering from splashing out on Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho

Barcelona’s desire to make a huge signing this summer are hampering efforts to bring a striker to the club in January.

Renewing attempts to bring Neymar to the club or signing Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan will be the priority this June. That has left the club in a difficult position as they attempt to cover the absence through injury of Luis Suarez for the next four months.

Had Barcelona not been beaten 2-0 at the weekend by Valencia new coach Quique Setien might have been told to finish the campaign with the options he currently has.

Barcelona may renew attempts to bring Brazil star Neymar back to the club in the summer

Or signing Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan will be the priority for the LaLiga giants this June

That may still be the case – especially if Barcelona manage a high-scoring win over Leganes on Thursday night in the cup – but after the weekend debacle the attempt to bring in Rodrigo Moreno from Valencia was stepped up.

The circumstances doomed the switch to failure from the start. Valencia need to sell a big-name player this month or at the end of the season and Rodrigo is their most saleable asset. But Barcelona say they cannot pay his €60million valuation.

The Catalan club have also budgeted for selling a player this season or at the start of the summer, not buying one.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu endeavoured to find a cunning solution with a loan (without an obligatory end of season buy) and the offer of one of Barcelona’s young players – right back Moussa Wague, centre-forward Abel Ruiz and winger Carlez Perez were all mentioned.

Valencia were not impressed by terms that they deemed completely favourable to Barcelona and not to them. Unless Barcelona find a solution the deal will not happen before Friday’s deadline. And it will not happen next summer either because resources are needed for Lautaro or Neymar.

Asked about whether Lionel Messi would be renewing his contract at Barcelona, president Bartomeu told Mundo Deportivo on Wednesday: ‘He has a contract until 2021, our objective is for him to retire at Barcelona so he will have to renew. He has still got a lot of football to give, he will not stop in 2021 so of course we will have to renew him.’

Barcelona have scored three goals in three games under new manager Quique Setien

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is having rehabilitation after suffering a long-term knee injury

The Catalan giants have been heavily linked with move for Valencia striker Rodrigo this month

Bartomeu knows persuading Messi to stay will be as much about who is signed in next summer’s window as how much money he is offered.

Messi wanted Neymar last summer and that has not changed. He also likes national team-mate Lautaro. The latter would be unequivocally welcomed by the club’s supporters; the former still divides opinion but his recent resurgence in form has not gone unnoticed. 

If Barcelona were to sign Neymar it would also make Real Madrid’s pursuit of Kylian Mbappe more difficult because PSG would not want to lose both in the same summer.

If Neymar’s attempted return does fail then Lautaro – whose €110m release clause becomes void in the middle of July – would be the obvious alternative.

Barcelona have  budgeted for selling a player this season or at start of summer, not buying one – president Josep Maria Bartomeu (above) endeavoured to find a cunning solution with a loan

Whatever happens Barcelona will need financial muscle to make things happen. They cannot afford any expensive mistakes this January. They are still recovering from spending €120m on Ousmane Dembele and €160m on Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian will be back at the club this summer with a permanent switch to his loan club Bayern Munich unlikely. Dembele will return to Barcelona’s first team in February after three months out with a hamstring injury.

New Barca coach Setien might have to make do with Dembele, Griezmann, Messi and Ansu Fati for the remainder of the season unless Bartomeu and Sporting Director Eric Abidal can pull a rabbit out of the hat before the Friday deadline. 

Last January they spent a million on a loan move for Kevin Prince Boateng who failed to score in four appearances.

Barcelona are still recovering from spending €120m on forward Ousmane Dembele

As well as €160m on Philippe Coutinho – they cannot afford any expensive mistakes this winter

Setien, who was keen on the idea of the quick, mobile, intelligent Rodrigo, despite him having only scored twice in the league this season, would also settle for Betis’ 26-year-old forward Loren Moren but Betis would need to replace him and have very little time to do so.

Chelsea’s Pedro has even been mentioned because of his apparent availability and his understanding with Messi.

The clock is ticking for Barcelona. The sale of a player of Ivan Rakitic’s calibre would open the fan of options a little wider but just as there is no time to find a forward there is very little time to sell a player who does not want to leave in the middle of the season.

Bartomeu said earlier this week that ‘the club will sign someone if it’s necessary’. Thursday night’s cup match with Leganes might go some way to deciding just how necessary it is. 

The team has scored three goals in three games under Setien but two of those were against third-tier side Ibiza. More frustration on Thursday and the urgency would increase – but the restrictions on what they can do are likely to remain the same.




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