Barcelona: No. 9s on club's radar - Piatek, Jovic, Gómez, Dolberg...
With Munir set to leave, Barça are likely to dip into the transfer market to sign cover for Luis Suárez. AS takes a look at some of the options.
Barcelona's firm stance on the future of Munir El Haddadi, who has been told he has played his last game for the LaLiga leaders, has left the club on slightly thin ice in terms of striking resources. Luis Suárez is a centre-forward who guarantees performances and goals, but is about to turn 32 and will increasingly have to look after his body, particularly his troublesome right knee. Indeed, the plan is for the Uruguayan to be rested periodically in the early part of the new year to ensure he reaches the business end of the campaign firing on all cylinders.
Although Barça do already have other options if Suárez doesn't play - such as fielding Lionel Messi as a false nine or turning to promising youth product Abel Ruiz - a foray into the January transfer market looks likely.
Stop-gap solution or long-term signing?
The Blaugrana must choose between two courses of winter-window action: seek out a lower-priced option tasked purely with filling a hole for the next six months, or make a longer-term signing who can be groomed as Suárez's replacement. However, with few top-class number nines currently out there, Barça do not have a wealth of alternatives to choose from.
Here is a list of some of the players the Catalans are keeping tabs on:
Ante Rebic (Age: 25)
Currently at Eintracht Frankfurt, Rebic enjoyed a great World Cup with Croatia. Blessed with searing pace and real battling spirit, he isn't having the best of seasons, however. He has five goals in 12 Bundesliga appearances for Eintracht, where he is under contract until 2022.
Luka Jovic (Age: 21)
Like Rebic, the Bosnian-born Serb also plays for Eintracht. Out of contract in the summer, he has hit 17 goals in 21 games for the Germans. A good option for Barça.
Krzysztof Piatek (Age: 23)
Even dubbed the 'new Lewandowski' by some, Piatek has exploded into life at Genoa this term, making use of his opportunism and ability to find space in the box to bag 19 goals in 21 games for the Serie A side. Genoa have already said they plan to cash in on him in the summer.
Maxi Gómez (Age: 22)
Gómez has eight goals in 16 LaLiga appearances this season and, like Suárez, is a powerhouse with fine finishing ability. However, the fact that he does not have a European Union passport would make it tricky for the Camp Nou club to bring him in this month, as their non-EU spots have already been filled up by Arthur, Malcom and Arturo Vidal.
Kasper Dolberg (Age: 21)
The Ajax striker is currently trying to get back to the form he showed when he burst onto the European scene. Classy on the ball and adept with his back to goal, he is a worthy addition to the long list of fine forwards produced by the Dutch club over the years. As they bid to prise Frenkie de Jong from the Johan Cruyff Arena, though, Barça appear reluctant to ruffle Ajax's feathers by going after the Dane too.
Patrik Schick (Age: 22)
Understudy to Edin Dzeko right now, Schick has long been a player admired by Barça, but it seems unlikely that Roma will let him leave as they prepare for a second half of the season in which they're still in the Champions League and are battling for the top four in Serie A. Barça suffered at the hands of the 22-year-old in last year's European elimination by the Giallorossi.
Jean-Kévin Augustin (Age: 21)
Presently plying his trade in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig, the Paris Saint-Germain youth product is a France Under-21 international and is a player who is very much on the radar of countryman and Barça sporting director Éric Abidal.
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