Stalling Manchester City talent becomes cheapest Barcelona striker target

Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus at a Manchester City match

Barcelona have shortlisted Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus as one of their alternatives to Robert Lewandowski or Erling Haaland, a report claims.

It is no secret that Barcelona are in the market for a new striker in the summer. They have made some progress since Xavi took charge of the club midway through the season. Yet they will still search for reinforcements to take the next steps.

Despite the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal in the winter – and his positive impact – a number nine is one of the main roles they are looking to fill. In that regard, there has been much discussion about Bayern Munich legend Lewandowski.

Bayern are trying to keep the Ballon d’Or candidate, but he is only under contract there for another year. Therefore, Barcelona could attempt to prise him away.

He would be a significant investment despite being in the twilight of his career. At the opposite end of the age spectrum – but even more expensive – would be Borussia Dortmund hitman Haaland.

Either Bundesliga operation would be ambitious, but there could be more prudent options available despite the pedigree of each player.

According to Marca, there are three other strikers Barcelona will be taking into consideration. The cheapest of the lot could be Manchester City man Gabriel Jesus.

TEAMtalk recently revealed that Jesus is yet to respond to City’s contract offer. Like Lewandowski at Bayern, he only has one year left on his current deal. Hence, City could be at risk if he doesn’t renew.

Sterling, Mahrez and Jesus making Man City wait - Exclusive

Manchester City forwards Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus are all holding out for new contracts as they only have 1 year left

Now, the fact there is another potential suitor lurking – for someone already linked with the likes of Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid – may heighten any fears City have.

Haaland repercussion could send Jesus to Barcelona

Per Marca‘s report, Barcelona are looking at the Brazilian as a potential target. The fact that City could be more likely to sign Haaland may play into their hands too.

It would mean Jesus could move on to make room, with the Spanish source predicting a transfer fee in the region of €30m (just under £25m).

Gabriel Jesus, Man City striker, during Premier League clash against Brentford at Brentford Community Stadium

City spent a slightly higher sum to sign him back in 2017, but may be best off taking what they can get as opposed to potentially losing him for nothing in 2023.

Jesus has played 33 times in all competitions this season, scoring seven goals. Although he has often played as a winger, his role when he first came to City was that of a centre-forward.

Barcelona could restore him to that position, but his versatility could see him compete for a place anywhere across their frontline.

Man City striker one of five options for Barcelona

That said, he is not the preferred option of club president Joan Laporta. If they cannot sign Lewandowski or Haaland, he would prefer them to turn their attention to AC Milan attacker Rafael Leao.

However, he costs €50m (£41m) and Milan are trying to extend his contract. Therefore, he would also be difficult to acquire.

The same goes for Darwin Nunez of Benfica, who has attracted many Premier League clubs. Although Barcelona are long-term admirers, they have seen the asking price rise to between €75m and €100m (£62m to £83m).

Jesus is therefore the cheapest of the lot for Barcelona to consider. And at the age of 25, it may be an ideal time in his career to pursue a transfer.

READ MOREHaaland receives ‘last-minute’ approach in warning to Man City, as star’s preference emerges