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La Liga 2019/20: Espanyol vs Barcelona – tactical analysis

Solving the Suarez situation: Loan for 30-goal striker would be the perfect answer for Barcelona

The next coming weeks could be one of the busiest for Barcelona in terms of seeing off “agreements”. Not anyone would have predicted this kind of rush coming in the winter window. Anyone placing bets on the goings on at the Camp Nou could be seeing Double Bubble at SlotsWise the amount of changes that are happening.

From being linked to former player Xavi Hernandez for a coaching role to him rejecting the move and now being ‘linked with former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, its been quite a past few eventful days for Barcelona.

Perhaps the most important event that has changed the whole Barcelona dynamic is the injury suffered by Luis Suarez. Losing in the semi-finals of the Super Cup to bitter rivals Atletico Madrid was bad enough but losing Suarez on the long term was the real loss of the day.

The injury to the Uruguay striker means the Catalan side must begin looking for adequate cover, but they do not have many affordable options – at least not for this window.

Suarez underwent surgery on his knee on Sunday and was initially expected to be sidelined for between four and six weeks, but is now set to miss most of the season.

It’s no secret that Barcelona themselves have been on the lookout for the ideal Suarez “replacement”. Preferably young, strong, agile and with an eye for goal. That all but screams Lautaro Martinez but at this point, he would seem out of reach – for now.

The financial situation of Barcelona currently means that one of their top targets, Lautaro, maybe nothing but a wish for now.

Barca are said to have made the Inter star their top target, but were planning on waiting until the summer to launch a bid. Understandably so.

The Argentina international’s €111 million (£95m/$123m) release clause as per Evening Standard is only active for two weeks in July, meaning Barca must try to talk Inter into a fair deal. Even if Barca did have all the funds on the ground, the other question is Inter.

They finally have a real chance at winning the Serie A title and a big part of that chance hinges on the fact that one of their top performers in Lautaro Martinez is delivering the goals and much needed work-rate upfront. Why sell him at all? More importantly, why consider it midway through the season?

However, a reasonable answer could be somewhere else across Europe. Barcelona might not necessarily need a Suarez replacement now but someone that can stand him for him temporarily till the end of the season where a signing done not out of panic would be more reasonable.

PSG’s Edinson Cavani would be a good option in this regard. If the Catalans need someone who is all about his business upfront in scoring goals, Cavani surely fits that bill. Even poetic that he’s a fellow countryman with Luis Suarez as well.

The 32-year-old has scored at least 30 goals per season in the past three seasons with the exception of last season, where he could only manage 25 goals in all competitions (via Transfermarkt). Which was clearly understandable as he had an injury spell that kept him on the sidelines for quite a while. His 1,683 minutes of action in the Ligue 1 last season (via Transfermarkt) was his lowest in the past six years – to further buttress the earlier narrative.

Why a loan deal for Cavani would make sense for Barcelona

If Cavani thought this season was his time for redemption, fate had other plans. PSG brought in the  “baggage” player in Mauro Icardi from inter on a season ling-loan and it has been a good piece of business so far.

The Argentine has bagged a respectable nine goals in 11 appearances via Transfermarkt and his 740 minutes of league action so far is the main reason Cavani has only seen 326 minutes of playing time so far. When you consider Cavani has those numbers in January, he might even do worse numbers from last season.

At this rate, Cavani knows he has to get minutes but with Icardi continuing to do well, it seems more unlikely. It is even expected that PSG would look to sign him on a permanent deal come the end of the season. Being only 26, he would still have a lot to offer the French outfit.

The Uruguayan’s body language for PSG of late indicates one thing – the fact that he still wants to play and is relishing game time and scoring more goals as he loves doing. He has recently been linked with David Beckham’s Inter Miami but of course the prospect of still being involved in proper competitive football with Barcelona will appeal to him more.

PSG, on the other hand, have no reason not to release him if any such offer comes through. In theory, it would be a win situation for all parties involved. CA loan deal would mean Barca get a stand-in player for Suarez, Cavani gets some playing time and also PSG have one less sulking player on their hands.

The one obstacle that could stand in the way of potential dealings is the strained relationship between both clubs (the whole Neymar saga) but business is strictly business and this deal would be much less complicated than a Neymar return to Barcelona and thankfully wouldn’t have to involve a swap deal for five players or more.


Possibly because of Suarez’s injury, Barca will try to offload some players in January, such as Inter target Arturo Vidal, to finance their bid for a new attacker but their current options are few and expensive. It remains unclear who they will sign, but it is obvious they need someone and Cavani could well be the answer.