Who will Barcelona sign to plug the gap that could be left by Dembele?
Barcelona are desperate to exploit loophole which allows them to sign a striker NOW after injury crisis… but which La Liga star will get the call-up to the Nou Camp?
- Ousmane Dembele is having surgery on an injured right hamstring on Tuesday
- Barcelona fear that they could be without Dembele for the rest of the campaign
- Barcelona will be able to sign a player on a short-term deal if he is ruled out
- Sportsmail assesses the options ahead of a crucial 24 hours for Barcelona
Barcelona face an anxious wait to find out whether or not Ousmane Dembele will be out for the rest of the season.
Dembele was due to have surgery on his injured right hamstring on Tuesday afternoon by leading specialist Lasse Lampainen.
Lampainen’s report will answer Barcelona’s big question of how long Dembele will be out for.
Ousmane Dembele is waiting to find out whether he will miss the rest of Barcelona’s season
If, as expected, their verdict is yes, Barcelona will be able to go to the Spanish Football Federation and argue their case to sign a player on a short-term deal.
The club are yet to make this request, however are expected to do so if Dembele’s injury is confirmed to be a long-term one as expected. Barcelona are desperate to bring in a new face and head coach Quique Setien said the need for a centre-forward was ‘obvious’ last week.
There are 15 games left to go and Barcelona know if they are to catch Real Madrid, who now have a three point lead, then they will need reinforcements. The priority this season might be the Champions League but Barcelona have won eight of the last 11 leagues and want to continue that domination.
Luis Suarez is also out for the rest of the season after having surgery on an injured knee
Barcelona are also without Luis Suarez for the rest of the season after he had surgery for a knee injury.
For the moment the weight is on Lionel Messi’s shoulders. He remains the league’s top scorer but for the first time in two years he is now on a run of no goals in three games. He has taken 22 shots in games against Valencia, Levante and Betis but has not scored.
So, who will arrive to bolster the Barcelona forward line? Sportsmail looks at some of the options.
Angel Rodriguez – Getafe
Appropriately named, will the 32-year-old goal machine be heaven sent in Barcelona’ hour of need? He’s direct and aggressive and will happily take up Luis Suarez’ responsibilities playing through the middle and hanging on the shoulder of the last defender.
He has scored 13 goals in just 1367 minutes of football and is Getafe’s top scorer despite being the player Getafe coach Jose Bordalas most often uses as an impact sub. Getafe would want every penny of his £9m release clause and Barcelona know they would be buying a short term solution who they will probably lose money on.
Angel Rodriguez may be 32 but the Getafe striker would present a decent stop-gap
Willian Jose – Real Sociedad
At 28 years of age he is the younger man who could have a future at the club albeit it as a reserve forward next season. Setien worked with him at Las Palmas and would be happy with the former Tottenham target. The problem would be the cost. His release clause is £60million.
La Real came down as far as £25m for Tottenham. Now in a position where they would not be able to buy a replacement that is the least they would accept even though the Brazilian has dropped down the pecking order behind 20-year-old Swedish striker Alexander Isak, who has six goals in eight games.
Willian Jose worked under Barcelona head coach Quique Setien when playing for Las Palmas
Lucas Perez – Alaves
At 31 the former Arsenal striker is having a good season at Alaves, forming a very effective partnership with one-time Newcastle forward Joselu. He would only cost £15m although Barcelona would still need a loan to get him and would face the wrath of supporters for their bad planning, especially if he failed to click with Messi and company.
He does, however, fit the request from Setien that the player the club buy be ‘versatile’ but he has indicated to friends that he believes he is going nowhere.
Getafe forward Lucas Perez would cost Barcelona £15m should they opt for the 31-year-old
Loren Moron – Real Betis
At 26, the Betis striker represents the youngest option. Again Setien would have the advantage of having already worked with the player. Loren wants to take the chance, especially after falling out of favour at Betis where, despite a good start to the season, he is second choice to the big summer signing Borja Iglesias.
Barcelona did not ask Betis about the forward when they played the club at the weekend but that does not rule out the possibility that they will turn to him if Dembele’s five-month absence is confirmed.
At 26, Real Betis striker Loren Moron is the youngest of Barcelona’s potential targets
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