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Analyzing some of Barcelona’s striker transfer targets

If you want to pit Barcelona’s fans against one another, just throw in the question “who should Josep Bartomeu bring in next to partner the demigod, Lionel Messi, upfront” and stand aside.

For all their unity and common perception about football, one thing that has often polarized the fans of the Catalan giant is the type of striker they need upfront.

Even at the administrative level of the club, opinions are always divided as to which striker was best to lead the line. A fact that is made evident in Joan Laporta’s infamous interview back in 2012, where he talked of his decision to bring in Swedish great Zlatan Ibrahimovich in place of the icon Samuel Eto’o fils. According to the former Barca chief, “Signing Ibrahimovich was a mistake … but football is all about the collective. Solidarity is even more important at Barcelona than anywhere else.”

What can be inferred from such statements is that Barcelona isn’t just a regular football institution, and if they’re going to bring in a striker, it has got to be someone capable of speaking the Barcelona language, someone like Luis Suarez, someone like David Villa.

But, of course, finding these types of strikers in this day and age can be a pretty big ask of anyone, let alone someone like Bartomeu. The current Barca supremo has made some big transfer calls recently, most of which haven’t gone down well with a large sect of the Barcelona faithfuls. The fans simply don’t trust their president’s ability to recoup the right type of striker to partner with the ever-reliable Lionel Messi.

As a result, different sects of the club’s fanbase have different opinions about which of the current names being linked with the club are actually good for the club.

It is in this light that we’ve decided to analyze many of the names on the club’s radar in terms of what their playing styles are and what we feel they’ll bring to the current Barca team. So sit tight and enjoy the analysis.

Lautaro Martínez

There’s been much talk about Inter’s Lautaro Martínez moving to Catalonia for around 100–110 million euros. He’s a great centre-forward, currently having one of the best seasons of his career under new manager Antonio Conte. Lautaro, partnered up by Lukaku in the Nerazzurri‘s 3–5–2, has already scored 13 goals and provided 3 assists in 22 competitive matches this term. The 22-year old is also a regular in Argentina’s national team, meaning that a partnership with Leo Messi would be nothing new to him.

The former Racing Club prospect is an all-rounder. Explosive, powerful, and with a good upper body strength, El Toro (the Bull) can beat physically any defender in spite of being relatively short at 1.74 metres (5 ft 9). He’s a great finisher, has a lot of pace, takes his chances with calmness and composure, and links up play as well. He’s a complete striker, but his price tag is a big issue, and it’s unknown whether the club will be willing to meet Inter’s demands.

But even if Bartomeu decides to push the deal through, there’s no telling whether Inter Milan would be resigned to losing their star man this season or the next because the Argentine is considered crucial to Inter’s push to dethrone perennial champions Juventus. And if they do refuse to sell, it wouldn’t be so surprising because of how important Lautaro is to what they’re trying to achieve. Not only has some of his goals this season saved the blushes of Inter Milan, but it has also saved many bettors on the sbobet.org website from losing their bets on the Italian giants. Such is the importance of the 22-year-old to Inter Milan.

Timo Werner

First at Stuttgart and then at RB Leipzig, Timo Werner has always been considered his respective team’s crown jewel. Nonetheless, this campaign the 23-year-old has lit up the Bundesliga as maturity, and Julian Nagelsmann have been an explosive combination for the star of Leipzig, current leaders in the German league. His best goalscoring season in the Bundesliga was the 16/17 season, where he found the net 21 times. With 18 games left to be played, Werner already has 18 goals and is only 3 goals away from equalling that tally. In all competitions, Timo has 23 goals and 9 assists in 24 appearances and 1.908 minutes, which translates to a goal contribution roughly every 60 minutes. Brutal.

That being said, Werner is much more than just a clinical goalscorer. Actually, he isn’t the main reference up top, but more like an inside forward or even left winger at times. Die Mannschaft‘s international constantly makes runs in behind the defence and detects and exploits any gap that there may be in the half-spaces between the centre-back and the full-back. Lightning fast and smart on and off the ball, Werner is a direct dribbler and combines it with his vision and passing. Sharpness, reading of space and versatility are one of his main assets and a reason why many fans see him as the ideal player to take up the role David Villa used to have in the past, supporting Messi as the false 9.

Rodrigo Moreno

Back in the January transfer window, there were lots of talks about Rodrigo moving to Barcelona, a move that was more or less confirmed by Barcelona’s president, Josep Bartomeu. But, in the end, Bartomeu was unsuccessful in his attempts to lure Rodrigo to Catalunya.

According to Valencia’s president, Anil Murthy, Barca’s offer doesn’t match Rodrigo’s qualities.

That said, he certainly gets the seal of approval from Barca legend Rivaldo, who feels Rodrigo would be well worth the outlay required to sign him from a La Liga rival.

“He’s one of the best goalscorers in La Liga and a key player for Celades,” said the Brazilian recently.

“I imagine that negotiations will not be easy; it would reinforce a direct opponent. They would have to pay a lot to sign him.”

But considering that Barcelona is such an enticing institution, you wouldn’t want to bet against Rodrigo, though he started his career at Real Madrid, being tempted by an offer to join one of the world’s true super-clubs in the coming seasons, should such an offer be forthcoming.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

He might have shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah last season, and he may be Arsenal’s current club captain, but to suggest Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is completely satisfied with life in north London would be a tad presumptuous.

The Gabonese striker has been a constant source of goals since arriving at the Emirates, bagging 49 goals, 10 assists times in 75 Premier League appearances so far since joining from Borussia Dortmund, but that has done little to help the Gunners re-establish themselves as an elite force.

Aubameyang is yet to savour Champions League football with Arsenal, and at the time of writing, they currently sit way back in 9th place in the Premier League, eight points adrift of Chelsea in fourth. The former Saint-Etienne man turns 31 in June and, as his twenties fade into the distance so that Champions League itch will become more intense.

It has been rumored that Barca are lining up an ambitious move for Aubameyang in the coming window.

Mikel Arteta has insisted Aubameyang will be staying put, and it would take an admittedly huge effort for Barca to pull Arsenal’s prized asset away in January. However, the thought of a Messi, Griezmann, Aubameyang front-three is a mouth-watering one.

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