by Tim Stannard
No strikers in sight for Barcelona as club faces business end of the season
News broke for Barcelona on Tuesday which merely confirmed what was suspected anyway.
Ousmane Dembele would be out for at least six months after undergoing surgery in Finland for a torn hamstring tendon. "The injury on his right side was more demanding than the one on the left that I operated on in 2017," was the cheerful report from the surgeon, Lasse Lempeinen, who did at least declare that the player's best days were ahead of him without pulling a face.
Seeing as those glorious day won't arrive until at least August and Luis Suarez is out of action until potentially May or June, (and Carles Perez is on loan) Barcelona are still in the same sticky situation that wasn't rectified in the winter transfer market - unlike the country of France, there are no strikers to be found.
The news doesn't look any better in regards to that situation on Wednesday with the Spanish press reporting that the club's main target in an 'emergency' signing - if it is permitted - will be Real Sociedad forward, Willian Jose.
The Brazilian has been a very reliable number nine for the past few seasons with eight LaLiga goals scored so far in the current campaign. Fairly static on the pitch and not at all with the tiki-taka stylings, but solid.
The problem is that La Real have a decent chance of top-four finish and are not in the mood to sell a forward to scupper this unless the price is right. That price is reportedly being set at $54 million. That's way too much for a Barcelona club without a huge amount of cash, for a forward that is a stop-gap fix.
Plenty for chirpy Barcelona fans to mull over ahead of a feisty clash in the Camp Nou on Saturday at 10AM ET (on beIN SPORTS) against third placed Getafe.
Coutinho ponders uncertain future as return to Barca beckons
Speaking of Barcelona, attackers, loans and what-not and Philippe Coutinho has been pondering his mid-term future. And it could well be pointing at a return to the Camp Nou.
The Brazilian is currently on-loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona and is also being linked with a return to Liverpool after being sold by the Anfield outfit two-years ago.
Keep up now.
That's because it is increasingly unlikely that Bayern will pay the $131 million fee for the footballer this summer, considering Coutinho is not a full-on starter in the Bundesliga side.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Coutinho is being fairly philosophical about a topsy-turvy two years of his career. "I don't look back. I took another path, and now I am on another journey, just like everyone else," mused the Bayern / Barcelona midfielder.
Another Brazilian on a permanent voyage is Neymar. But there will be no footballing docking today with Neymar being left out of PSG's squad (Mbappe's there though) that faces Dijon in the Coupe de France quarterfinals at 12:30PM ET today in a game that is live, live, live on beIN SPORTS and followed by an epic encounter between Lyon and Marseille.
In fact, stay with the channel all day as after that finishes then the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana action gets underway with matches across the network including X v X on the beIN SPORTS XTRA channel - no subscriptions, no strings, no fees.