BARCELONA

Barça looking to sign a striker to compensate for losing Kun Agüero

There have been doubts about how long Agüero is expected to be out. Dani Olmo is the player at the top of Alemany's list, Raheem Sterling is the alternative.

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Barça looking to sign a striker to compensate for losing Kun Agüero

The unfortunate episode involving Kun Agüero, who will spend the next three months receiving treatment for a heart problem and is expected to be out for a long period of time, has forced Barça to give the green light to sign at least one player in the winter transfer window. While the club's economic situation is stretched to the very limit, club directors, including vice-president of the economic area, Eduard Romeu, claimed that there is just enough room to squeeze another player onto the payroll.

Olmo on the agenda

Barça are not thinking about signing players who are a short-term fix. It didn't work in the past with players like  Boateng, Braithwaite and even the most recent case, Luuk de Jong has yet to live up to expectations. They aim to sign a player who will fit into a long-term project. Top of the list which Mateu Alemany and Ramon Planes have drawn up is Dani Olmo. At 23, he fits the profile of player which Barça are looking for. He's versatile, he's comfortable playing in any of the forward positions - as he showed with Spain in the Euro 2020 semi-final against Italy, where he played slightly deeper. He's also a proven goal scorer, which is an area where Barça are lacking at the moment. Olmo is under contract until 2024 and to bring him to Camp Nou, Barça would need to sign him on a loan deal with the obligation to buy him at the end. He's also a Culé, born in Terrassa, his dream is to wear the blue and claret shirt.

Raheem Sterling is another name on the table, but obviously the adaptation process would be much harder and there are doubts about his current level of form. Manchester City are keen to move him on, but not at any price. For Sterling to leave, he needs to present the club with an offer. The lack of available striker in the market (Haaland and Isak are beyond Barcelona's budget at the moment) means they need to look at alternatives.

Luuk de Jong's situation could also change if a new player come in after Christmas. With Braithwaite injured and Agüero out of action, the Dutch forward's role could be restricted to specific moments. Whoever comes in as coach will need to defend him against the criticism from the fans.