Barcelona remain in regular contact with Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay ahead of making a move to sign at least one of them this summer, but sources have told ESPN that they are also keen to sign another forward who can lead the attack in the long-term.
As Neymar is no longer a target following his contract renewal with Paris Saint-Germain, sources have told ESPN that Erling Haaland is seen by the club as the outstanding candidate to lead the team’s attack for the next decade.
However, due to the costs involved in any potential deal and Borussia Dortmund‘s reluctance to sell this summer, Barca acknowledge a deal for Haaland in the upcoming transfer window is almost impossible.
Sources also told ESPN that the club are looking at more experienced options, too, with Villarreal‘s Gerard Moreno someone who fits that category. He has scored 27 goals this season, helping his side reach the Europa League final against Manchester United.
Moreno is not the only player who fits that profile, sources added, but said that Barca will wait until knowing if Lionel Messi stays or not before making any definitive moves.
Messi, 33, is out of contract on June 30 but president Joan Laporta remains hopeful of convincing him to renew with a two-year deal with the option for an additional year.
A source told ESPN that the arrival of at least one of them is highly likely this summer, as they are both considered good market opportunities, being out of contract. If one or both join will depend on the race to sign Haaland and that search for a younger alternative, as well as Messi’s decision on a new contract.
Barca have held conversations with the representatives of Aguero and Depay to sound out how much they would command in wages and signing on fees.
However, sources confirmed to ESPN that he would be willing to take a pay cut to secure a move to Camp Nou, where he could have the chance to team up with close friend Messi.
A source admitted to ESPN that there is no total consensus on Aguero because he will be 33 years old in June and this season he has only scored four goals due to several fitness issues.
But, the club values that a striker of his prestige is willing to cut his salary to join Barca and consider that in the short-term he would improve the performances of Martin Braithwaite, who has only scored 7 goals this season.
Whoever arrives to reinforce the attack, the Catalan club want to sell the Braithwaite since Ansu Fati will also be returning from a long-term injury.
Despite popular opinion, sources say a move for Depay is not linked to coach Ronald Koeman’s future, even though the Barca coach is one of the voices pushing for the arrival of the Lyon man, who he worked with when he was in charge of Netherlands.
Depay, 27, has scored 21 goals in Ligue 1 this season and is more versatile than Aguero, but some question his failure to deliver at United earlier in his career.
Both options are well-placed, and the final decision will depend on Laporta, who is also considering whether to keep Koeman on, or look for a new coach.
Alex Kirkland contributed information to this report.