Barcelona Reportedly Considering Moves for Krzysztof Piatek and Nicolas Pepe

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IOctober 15, 2018

GENOA, ITALY - OCTOBER 07: Krzysztof Piatek of Genoa celebrates after scoring a goal during the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and Parma Calcio at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on October 7, 2018 in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images)
Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

Barcelona are reportedly considering moves for Genoa striker Krzysztof Piatek and Lille winger Nicolas Pepe as they seek to strengthen the No. 9 position.

According to Sport (h/t Naveen Ullal at Sport Witness), the Spanish champions have no intention of selling Luis Suarez but do want to bring in a younger player to help out the Uruguay international.

Genoa could be willing to sell Piatek but would demand a fee of up to €60 million (£52 million). Pepe would be a far cheaper option and may be available at just €30 million (£26 million), per the report.

Suarez will turn 32 in January, and the club need to consider how they will replace him. He remains a key player in attack and has three goals and three assists in eight La Liga appearances.

However, he has shown signs of decline, according to Squawka's Muhammad Butt:

The club have few options in their current squad. Paco Alcacer has been allowed to leave on loan for Borussia Dortmund. His deal includes a purchase option that the club plan to take up, per Bild (h/t Francesc de Haro at Sport).

Munir El Haddadi is the only other recognised striker in the squad. He is struggling to make an impact and has managed just 72 minutes for Barcelona this season, per WhoScored.com.

Barcelona's interest in Piatek is clear, as he is a man in red-hot goalscoring form for club and country:

His form appears to have attracted a host of top clubs. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has spoken about his interest in the Poland international, per Goal.

"I have spoke with both [Genoa president] Preziosi and his agent, now we have to meet," he said. "But I do not want to end up in a bidding war, with all due respect to the player, I must also see if he can perform at Napoli like he has done at Genoa." 

A move to Barcelona would surely tempt Piatek. He would be able to play a back-up role to Suarez initially, with a view to replacing the striker when the Uruguayan decides his time at the Camp Nou is up.

However, Barcelona may decide that Pepe is a more enticing option. Like Piatek, he's also had a fine start to the season with six goals and four assists in nine Ligue 1 outings:

Lille president Gerard Lopez said in September there had been contact with Barcelona over Pepe, per RMC Sport (h/t Ryan Taylor of the Daily Express).

He said: "It's true. There are some great clubs that are interested in him. The clubs contacted us directly after the summer market to find out the way forward. I hope he stays at least one more season."

It make sense that Barcelona are already on the lookout for potential replacements for Suarez. They will need to find a player who is willing to be patient initially but can also handle the pressure and take his chances in the first team when they arise.

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