Barcelona are reportedly scouting teenage Portuguese forward Rafael Leao, who plies his trade for Ligue 1 outfit LOSC Lille.
As per a report from Portuguese publication Record, La Liga champions Barcelona are showing an interest in 19-year-old Lille striker Rafael Leao and have extensively scouted him this season, as they seek to bolster their attack in the summer.
The teenage forward came through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon in his homeland of Portugal and having made just five first-team appearances, made the switch to Lille last summer on a free transfer. Since moving to the French club, Leao has made a solid impression, scoring seven goals and setting up one more in 15 Ligue 1 appearances.
Barcelona’s goalscoring woes in recent matches are no hidden secret. The Catalans are heavily reliant on Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to provide the firepower at the top, but with the latter struggling for form and fitness at various points over the course of the ongoing season, the La Liga champions have been hampered.
Barcelona have won just one of their last five matches across all competitions, with Suarez not finding the back of the net in any of those fixtures. Having allowed Munir El Haddadi to join Sevilla in January, the Blaugrana recruited Kevin-Prince Boateng in a surprise move. But, the former AC Milan man hasn’t made a solid impression since joining the club.
There is no question that the No. 9 issue needs addressing in the summer window and that is not lost on the Barcelona management. The Catalans have been linked with a move for Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic, who has taken the Bundesliga by storm this season, with reports even claiming that they had already agreed personal terms with the Serb.
More recently, reports in Spain have seen the La Liga champions being linked with Manchester United star Marcus Rashford as well, who has been in sensational form in the past couple of months. And now as per Record, Leao too has emerged as a potential target for the Catalans.
The report claims that Barcelona scouted the teenage forward during Lille’s goalless stalemate against Montpellier in Ligue 1 this weekend, during which Leao was on the field for 77 minutes but failed to inspire his team to a victory.
Leao is contracted with Lille till the summer of 2023. Despite his tender age, the Portuguese attacker has shown tremendous finishing abilities and is a force to be reckoned with in the air as well, making him an enticing prospect for Barcelona. The fact that he had reportedly been a subject of interest for Manchester United last year indicates the amazing potential that he possesses.
It, however, remains to be seen, if the Catalans do press ahead with their pursuit of the 19-year-old Leao or look elsewhere to boost their attacking contingent next summer.