Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been dubbed Barcelona’s ‘Plan B’ for the remainder of the January transfer window if a deal for Alvaro Morata fails to materialise.
Barça were heavily linked with Morata, who is on loan at Juventus from Atletico Madrid, earlier in the window but negotiations appeared to have broken down.
Having already paid €20m in loan fees, Juventus are not expected to trigger their €45m option for a permanent transfer, which could pave the way for an early exit from Turin this month if Atletico are open to dealing with another club.
Juve are in the process of wrapping up a €75m deal for Serie A hotshot Dusan Vlahovic, which is likely to limit the playing time Morata gets in the second half of the season.
Sergio Aguero’s unfortunate premature retirement over health conditions last month has pushed Barça to consider a new striker in the transfer market.
In Spain, AS has reported that the expected return of winger Adama Traore to Camp Nou on an initial loan from Wolves will not necessarily close the door on further new arrivals. However, any further activity will depend on whether the club finds a buyer for Ousmane Dembele.
Dembele is out of contract at the end of the season and Barça executive Mateu Alemany declared earlier this month that the club intend to sell the Frenchman in order to recoup a transfer fee.
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‘Plan A’ is Morata, although it is said a deal is complicated by Atletico’s unwillingness to accept a six-month loan, prompting both the player and his agent to travel to Madrid in recent days for talks.
‘Plan B’, however, is Aubameyang. He has not played since being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy over a disciplinary issue and is widely expected to leave the club once a suitable offer that satisfies all parties comes in – Saudi Arabian clubs Al Hilal and Al-Nassr have so far been linked.
Barça would hope to initially loan the 32-year-old, whom coach Xavi is said to admire. Despite a reputation for sometimes being difficult to handle, his goal record speaks for itself – 233 in his last 376 club games since joining Borussia Dortmund in 2013.