Barcelona have identified Real Sociedad’s Willian Jose as their desired replacement for the injured Luis Suarez.
According to Marca, Barcelona are plotting a move to sign Willian Jose this season, although they will have to wait for the severity of Ousmane Dembele’s injury. Spanish clubs are allowed to trade players with other Spanish clubs outside the transfer window, in case of a long-term injury to a player.
That’s where Dembele’s injury could be key. The Frenchman is set to undergo a thigh surgery in Finland, though the time scale of his absence is still yet to be confirmed. If he is ruled out for five months or more, Barcelona will be able to sign a player within the league.
The Catalans have already started their search for finding a replacement. But, instead of signing a like for like alternative for Dembele, they want to secure the services of someone who can provide cover for Luis Suarez, who has been sidelined until May. As a result, they have set their sights on Jose.
The Real Sociedad forward is regarded as one of the most consistent strikers in La Liga. Since joining La Real in 2016, he has notched up 53 goals in just 131 competitive matches. His contributions in front of goal have been critical for Sociedad, even though they have failed to crack the top six in recent years.
What makes Jose such an appealing target for Barcelona is his all-round game. The Brazilian is not only a prolific striker but is also advertised as a technically astute number nine, who can link-up with teammates in the final third. His one-touch passing game is also strong, which could tune in well with Barca’s style of play.
At Barcelona, Jose can be a perfect replacement for the injured Suarez. He has a considerable amount of experience of Spanish football and his presence in the team should allow star player Antoine Griezmann to feature in his preferred wide-attacking role, where he is much more effective.
Moreover, the Brazilian has worked with Quique Setien in the past at Las Palmas, having scored ten goals in 28 matches during the 2015/16 campaign under the leadership of the current Barcelona manager. And this connection could surely help him settle in quickly in Catalonia.
However, Jose’s stupendous €70 million release clause could prove to be a problem for Barcelona in their pursuit of the forward. And should the Catalans fail to negotiate a lower fee with Real Sociedad, they could be forced to look at other options.
In fact, Barcelona have already identified a list of alternatives, which include the likes of Angel Rodriguez of Getafe and Loren Moron of Real Betis. Hence, it will be interesting to see how this transfer saga pans out as the Catalans scour the market for a Suarez replacement.