It would seem an almost absurd proposition, given the deadly trident of attacking talent Barcelona boasts up front. But as we saw in Barça’s 1-1 draw with Valencia on Saturday, when the likes of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar aren’t firing, there are precious few options for manager Luis Enrique to turn to.
Part of the problem stems from Barcelona having let Pedro go to Chelsea without having a suitable replacement lined up. Pedro had always been a reliable option off the bench for Barcelona, and even has one goal on the books this season, despite having left the club back in August.
And while Messi and Neymar are arguably the two preeminent attacking talents in world football at the moment, Suarez is the only out-and-out No. 9 in the Barcelona first team at the moment. Hence the reports emerging from Spain that Enrique is focused on signing a center forward in the upcoming January transfer window.
Suarez has started all but one of Barça’s league matches this season, and has scored in the last seven. Lucho Enrique is apparently aware of the need to give the Uruguayan a rest at some point, however: While Suarez has never been particularly injury-prone, he was lucky to escape a red card on Saturday for a stamp on Valencia defender Aymen Abdennour.
Surprisingly for a club of Barcelona’s resources, there are only limited funds available during the January window, making it unlikely that Enrique will splash the cash on such a high-profile signing. Instead, the club has reportedly dispatched scouts to identify a bargain buy, or to locate a potential loan option.
According to Sport, Barça scout Ariedo Braids has been scouting several players in Serie A. One option is Simone Zaza, a 24-year-old forward who’s scored two goals in seven games for Juventus. Napoli’s Manolo Gabbiadini is another option on the table, despite the fact that the 24-year-old has only scored once in nine games.
There have also been rumors about the club making a move for Fenerbahce’s Robin van Persie. But the former Arsenal and Man United striker insists there has been no contact with Barça.
Celta Vigo’s Nolito is another player who’s been identified as a long-term solution, but the 29-year-old is thought to be out of Barça’s price range this time around.
Barcelona will be in action in the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen this week before resuming their La Liga campaign against Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.