Barcelona Reportedly Target Roberto Firmino as Luis Suarez Successor

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2018

NAPLES, ITALY - OCTOBER 03: Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during the Group C match of the UEFA Champions League between SSC Napoli and Liverpool at Stadio San Paolo on October 3, 2018 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Barcelona are reportedly interested in signing Roberto Firmino from Liverpool as a long-term successor to Luis Suarez

According to El Chiringuito (h/t Jake Polden of the Daily Mirror), the Blaugrana are considering centre-forward options as they plan for life beyond Suarez, who turns 32 in January. It's added that Firmino has caught the eye at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona are said to admire the application of the Brazilian off the ball and his ability to win possession back in advanced areas. They are also said to be of the opinion that Firmino would be a fine foil for star man Lionel Messi.

The Blaugrana are said to be well aware that a January deal is unlikely but are reportedly putting steps in place ahead of a possible move in the summer.

The path from Anfield to the Camp Nou is one that has been tread frequently. Suarez moved to Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014 on the back of an extraordinary campaign for the Reds, while Firmino's compatriot Philippe Coutinho also made the switch to La Liga in January this year.

Both of those players were big losses to Liverpool, although you sense Firmino would be just as difficult to replace, such is his importance to the way the Reds play.

The former Hoffenheim man is a multifaceted forward:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Roberto Firmino at Liverpool in the Premier League: 2015/16: 10 goals, 7 assists, 67 tackles won 2016/17: 11 goals, 7 assists, 58 tackles won 2017/18: 15 goals, 7 assists, 63 tackles won Jurgen Klopp's dream forward. 😍 https://t.co/G7NdHoQeF7

For manager Jurgen Klopp, who demands high-intensity football from his players as well as swift transitions, a player like Firmino is valuable.

Not only does he hunt down opponents when they have the ball, when he gets on it himself his movement is slick, as is his linkup play. Throughout his Liverpool career the Brazilian has also got more and more ruthless in front of goal.

They're traits that Suarez has showcased during his time at the top level with Liverpool and Barcelona, too.

Since arriving at Barcelona from Liverpool he's been a huge hit, helping the team win three La Liga titles, the UEFA Champions League and the Copa del Rey on four occasions. 

He has also forged a brilliant relationship with Messi down the years:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

2⃣7⃣ @LuisSuarez9 has set up more goals for Messi in #LaLiga than any other @FCBarcelona player! 9⃣➡🔟⚽ Matchday 8 in numbers 👇 https://t.co/zPTWnbPOWN

However, there have been some signs that the Barcelona No. 9 is beginning to slow down in his all-round game, that despite the fact he still remains potent in front of goal.

In theory Firmino would be an ideal replacement for the Catalan giants and the chance to play alongside the likes of Messi and Coutinho would potentially be appealing. But at the moment he appears to be enjoying his football on Merseyside and in April he penned a new long-term deal with the Reds.