Barcelona have jumped to the front of the queue in the race to sign highly-rated Bayer Leverkusen star Julian Brandt, according to reports in Spain.
The Catalan giants are still looking to add to their attacking options following the departure of Neymar in a world-record €222m move to PSG over the summer.
While they did bring in Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, it’s claimed boss Ernesto Valverde also wants to bring in another option, and especially amid ongoing doubts over the future of Luis Suarez.
The Uruguayan striker has struggled for form so far this season, having just scored twice in eight appearances and amid claims his weight is causing concern to Valverde.
And Marca believe Valverde is already scanning the globe in a bid to bring more firepower to the Nou Camp – with Antoine Griezmann and Timo Werner also mentioned as possible replacements for the former Liverpool man.
However, the paper believes Valverde has made Brandt his top target.
Liverpool have long been linked with a move for the Leverkusen forward and it was claimed Jurgen Klopp’s side had a £25m offer for the player rejected at the start of the summer. The Reds went on to sign Mohamed Salah in a £36.9million deal from Roma – but since then the transfer market has exploded, mainly on the back of Neymar’s world-record switch.
And Marca believes any deal for Brandt could set Barcelona back as much as €70million – though it’s not specified if they wanted the Germany forward in January or next summer.
Discussing why he opted to reject offers to leave earlier this summer, Brandt told Kicker: “My gut feeling and my head are telling me the time to move has not arrived yet. I have to straighten things out in Leverkusen.
“Of course there are players who say a year without European football before the World Cup is good reason to move.
“But if you move to a bigger club a year before the World Cup, you risk taking time at first to settle which possibly means playing fewer games.”