La Liga champions Barcelona may have the most potent strike force in the world in MSN, but they have identified a back-up to the South American trio.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are well established as the Barcelona front three and there is little opportunity for any other player to wrest a starting spot from them. However, the Catalans are in desperate need of a back-up who can step up to the plate in case one of them is injured or suffering from fatigue.
Sporting director Robert Fernandez is currently in America to follow up on a list of preferences drawn up by Barca. One of the foremost names on that list is France striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, according to Catalan publication Mundo Deportivo. The 30-year-old striker currently plays for Mexican league side Tigres UANL, and Fernandez has approached both the club and player to discuss a possible deal.
The report adds that though the club rate Gignac highly and expect him to be able to perform at the top level, he is one option among many. Barcelona are looking at other veteran forwards like Carlos Bacca, Mario Gomez and Mario Mandzukic, while the preference remains to find a younger striker to complement the MSN.
Andre-Pierre Gignac was a shock selection by France manager Didier Deschamps for Euro 2016. He played a substitute’s role for most of the tournament, even coming on in the final against Potugal, but failed to make a significant impact for Les Blues. However, the former Marseille attacker has been prolific at club level for El Tigres, scoring 32 goals in 37 appearances for them this past season.
Although Gignac may be on the older side, he could be the perfect signing for Barca, given their lack of alternatives. They were very interested in his compatriot Kevin Gameiro, but the Sevilla striker recently joined their rivals Atletico Madrid for a reported €32 million. Barca would also find it difficult to sign their preferred younger alternatives because of the lack of game time that a back-up role would involve.
Messi, Suarez and Neymar have time and again shown their class, and it would take some prodigious talent to displace any one of them from the first team. A back-up striker would have to be content with warming the bench most of the season, something a quality player would never choose to do.