Koeman’s Suarez Replacement
One of the weeks biggest headlines is new Barcelona manager, Ronald Koeman, deciding that Barcelona are no longer in need of the services of Luis Suarez. Koeman looks to move the 33-year-old in order to make room for youth players such as rising star Ansu Fati. Suarez joined Atletico Madrid earlier this week. The Uruguayan striker spent 6 years at the Catalan side, earning 13 titles including a Champions League Winner’s medal. In the time spent at Barcelona, Suarez racked up 189 goals becoming the club’s 3rd all time goal scorer. He only sits behind Cesar Rodriguez, who played in the 1920’s, and his teammate Lionel Messi. Koeman is now tasked with finding a new number 9 who can fit the Barcelona style of play.
A replacement within the squad
The easiest option for Barcelona is their own Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman signed for the club last year for $135 million from Atletico Madrid. Griezmann managed to accumulate 10 goals and 4 assists in his first season, however, had to play as a left winger as opposed to his preferred central role. There is no doubt the world cup winger possesses the goal scoring ability but Koeman is keeping his options open.
50 Million to Lyon?
After several successful seasons at Lyon, Memphis Depay, seems to be the Dutch manager’s first choice. Depay missed a large portion of last season through injury but managed 9 goals in his 13 appearances. Koeman is aware of Depay’s technical ability having coached him through the Dutch national team. The injury does not seem to have slowed down Depay, netting 4 goals in his 3 games since the return of Ligue 1. With a value around £50 million, a move to Barcelona could be possible before the transfer window closes.
The next step for Lautaro Martinez?
Barcelona’s top target, whose playstyle is most likened to Suarez, comes with a top price. Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez looks to be Koeman’s ideal choice. The Argentinian has pace, technical ability, and an eye for goal. At only 23 years old, there is plenty of time on his side. The striker combined for 19 goal contributions in his last season at the San Siro. Furthering his appeal, Martinez has already played with Messi. With Messi’s free role on the field, it is important for Koeman to find a center forward who can still produce around that role. However, the move may be out of reach. Martinez’ buyout clause is rumored to be in the region of €100 million. Considering the restrictions from UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules it looks as if Barcelona would need an overhaul of the club in order to secure Martinez’ signature.