Barcelona are reported to have drawn up a three-man striker shortlist ahead of summer 2020 as they seek a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.
The Uruguayan striker has been a phenomenal success at Barcelona since signing from Liverpool for £64.98m in summer 2014, scoring 184 goals in 256 appearances for the club.
And despite showing no signs of his form deteriorating – Suarez has seven in nine so far this term – talk is rife among the Spanish press that the club are already planning to sign an eventual successor to the 32-year-old.
According to Marca, top of their wish-list is England hitman Harry Kane, but Tottenham’s reported €200m asking price is already looking problematic; that despite reports suggesting they could look to boost their coffers by cashing in on another expensive recruit, Ousmane Dembele.
Instead, the club’s money men – which includes president Josep Maria Bartomeu and directors Javier Bordas, Oscar Grau and Eric Abidal – are instead said to have placed two alternative names at the top of their wishlist.
As per the report, Barca are making detailed checks on Real Betis striker Loren Moron after the Spaniard was deemed as a possible cheaper solution. The 25-year-old currently is the top scorer in LaLiga with seven goals and one assist to his name already, averaging a goal every 86 minutes for the Seville-based outfit.
However, multiple reports in the Italian media suggest it is Inter Milan hotshot Lautaro Martinez who is fast emerging as Barca’s top choice, with Calciomercato and Tuttosport both reporting that the player has been recommended to the club by his Argentina teammate Lionel Messi.
It’s reported Inter are well aware of Barca’s growing interest in the Argentine – and are preparing to offer him a new contract that will significantly raise his €111m release clause and simultaneously kibosh their efforts to prise him away.
As per Tuttosport, Inter now rate the player well in excess of €100m, but plan to ‘significantly raise his exit clause to colossal new heights’ in a bid to dissuade Barca from an approach.
The striker has netted 12 goals in 44 matches for Inter, while he boasts a formidable record at international level with nine goals in 14 games – thanks, in part, to a good understanding he’s formed with Messi.
Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher has apologised to Patrice Evra after admitting he and his Liverpool teammates were wrong to show public support for the Uruguayan striker amid an alleged racism storm between the pair.