BARCELONA

Barcelona: Lucas Pérez emerges as favourite to join LaLiga giants

As Barcelona look for a forward to bring in as an emergency signing, Alavés Lucas Pérez is now looking like the most likely candidate.

Barcelona: Lucas Pérez emerges as favourite to join LaLiga giants
JON RODRÍGUEZ BILBAO EFE

Barcelona's Copa del Rey defeat to Athletic Bilbao offered up further evidence that, among a number of problems at the Camp Nou club, there is an urgent need to strengthen their forward options. The Blaugrana's lack of bite in front of goal was a major factor in Thursday's quarter-final exit.

With Ousmane Dembélé to undergo surgery in Finland after being ruled out for the rest of the season with a hamstring tear, Barça are currently combing the market for a forward to bring in as an emergency signing - if they can get permission from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Alavés willing to negotiate Pérez fee below buy-out figure

To be able to do a deal outside of the transfer window, Barça must prove to the RFEF that Dembélé will be out for at least five months. According to Federation rules, the transfer would have to involve a free agent or a player at another Spanish club.

Should Barça get the green light from the RFEF, Alavés' Lucas Pérez is now emerging as the apparent favourite to go to Catalonia. The 31-year-old, who has scored eight times in 17 appearances this season, has a release clause of 20 million euros - but, unlike fellow targets Ángel Rodríguez and Cristhian Stuani, his club would be willing to negotiate a fee below that buy-out figure.

Barcelona are also thought to be considering other options that have not been revealed to the press, meanwhile.