NewslettersSign inAPP
españaESPAÑAargentinaARGENTINAchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAméxicoMÉXICOperúPERÚusa latinoUSA LATINOaméricaAMÉRICA

Luis Enrique, Mascherano and Barça's search for a striker


Barcelona unveiled André Gomes on Wednesday, with director of professional sports Albert Soler taking the chance to announce Javier Mascherano has agreed a three-year contract extension on improved terms. It's funny, though: just moments earlier, when asked if a new striker was on the horizon, technical secretary Robert Fernández had replied that this was Gomes' day and he didn't think it right to talk about others. Well, Soler had no problem discussing Mascherano, whose new deal was an express request from coach Luis Enrique. Express - and public: he had (unbidden by any sort of question on the issue) urged the club to finalise the player's renewal in his first press conference of the season.

André Gomes' presentation saw Barça confirm Javier Mascherano's new deal.
Full screen
André Gomes' presentation saw Barça confirm Javier Mascherano's new deal.Gorka LeizaDIARIO AS

Efforts to sign a striker proving frustrating...

There are matters that are pleasant to discuss, of course, and others that are less so. And the search for a striker, bogged down for a while now, is among the latter. Sandro Ramírez and Munir El Haddadi's displays had in January already prompted Barça to try to buy Nolito ahead of the second half of the campaign. They've since also sounded out Correa, Vietto, Dembélé, Gameiro and Ben Arfa, failing to persuade any of them. The problem? The same reason Pedro Rodríguez left: no-one fancies accepting the irremediable predicament of being a certain sub. Even for the most optimistic of challengers, the 'MSN' are an insurmountable obstacle. Now Barça's attentions have turned to Ayoze Pérez. Let's see if this one happens...

Could Ayoze Pérez be the answer to Barça's search for a fourth striker?
Full screen
Could Ayoze Pérez be the answer to Barça's search for a fourth striker?DIARIO AS

Munir Barça's only reserve option up front

Because you need dependable back-up in every position. With that in mind, Barcelona have sought to add depth to their squad by signing Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne, Gomes and Denis Suárez. The backline has been bolstered, offsetting the exits of Marc Bartra and Adriano Correia, and the midfield is well served - though doubts exist over Sergio Busquets' understudy, with Sergi Roberto appearing to be the best option - but up front they only have Munir to cover absences or allow Enrique to rest his attacking monsters. They're working on it at Barça, with the club at pains to meet Enrique's demands (as Mascherano's contract renewal shows) - something which might just leave Zinedine Zidane feeling a touch envious...