Dembele: Barcelona consider emergency signing Bakambu
Despite already buying Francisco Trincão, the Barça board are combing the market for a proven forward with Cédric Bakambu top of the list.
According to sources at Camp Nou, Barcelona are considering an emergency signing to cover for the absence of Ousmane Dembélé, who has been ruled out for the season after suffering another hamstring tear to bring his injury plagued campaign to a premature end.
Barcelona resisted the temptation to dip into the market during January after their primary targets, Valencia and Spain striker Rodrigo and Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, proved inaccessible. The feeling then was that rather than risk another episode like the loan addition of Kevin-Prince Boateng a year ago, Quique Setién could make do with what he has available when the return of Dembélé boosted his options.
Now, with Luis Suárez out until April and Dembélé on the sidelines, Barça have no recognized number nine and have lost the Frenchman on the left. While that solves one problem in terms of Antoine Griezmann and Leo Messi playing in the same XI, it leaves Setién short of depth in the attacking positions for the business end of the season as the Frenchman and Argentinean are his only senior forwards. Ansu Fati’s star continues to rise but Barça are wary of placing too much pressure on the 17-year-old despite Setién’s squad being reduced to 16 players.
Bakambu Barça's primary target to cover for Dembélé loss
The Barça board therefore are mulling making a temporary signing to provide cover for the remainder of the season with former Villarreal striker Cédric Bakambu at the top of the list. The DR Congo forward is currently at Beijing Guoan, where he has scored at almost a rate of a goal a game in the Chinese Super League. That competition has been suspended due to the coronavirus and the player will be made available for a loan, a move that had the backing of Barça sporting director Éric Abidal during the January window but was ruled out by club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Now, with Barça’s needs urgent and Bakambu in limbo, talks are likely to reignited. According to LaLiga regulations, Barça can sign a free agent from outside Spain, or comb the national market for a replacement, where Rodrigo or Real Sociedad striker Willian José are probably the only options.
Barça did sign a forward in January, Braga’s Portugal under-21 international Francisco Trincão, but the deal stipulated he would remain at the Primeira Liga side until June.
In any case, if Barça bring in a player he will not be available for the Champions League after the deadline to register new players for European squads expired last Monday.