Barcelona ace Lionel Messi is reportedly set to fight the corner of his teammate Luis Suarez amid talk that the club could be looking to replace him.
The 31-year-old has been a fundamental figure for the Catalan giants since joining from Liverpool in 2014, scoring 155 goals in 206 games to help lead the club to countless trophies.
However, although he ended the campaign with a decent tally of 31 goals in 51 outings last year, there were signs last season that Suarez was perhaps slowing while his frustrated body language throughout the World Cup this past summer suggested that it wasn’t just at the Nou Camp where he was struggling.
While he does still possess great quality, Don Balon report that Barcelona are looking to replace him, with PSV’s Hirving Lozano specifically named as a replacement option. Further, it’s added that the La Liga champions will want to try and recoup as much of Suarez’s transfer fee back when selling him.
It remains to be seen how realistic that is given his decline and age, but time will tell if he can prove himself in the coming weeks and silence the transfer speculation over his future.
Nevertheless, he does have a strong argument to stay as the report goes on to add that Messi doesn’t want to see his friend replaced at the Nou Camp and so that could be a telling factor if he argues his case to the club and urges them to keep faith.
This isn’t the first time that Barcelona have been linked with Lozano either, as noted by Bleacher Report, and so it perhaps seems like an ongoing theme that Suarez could be in danger of losing his place at the Nou Camp.
Time will tell though if Messi can have an influence on the decision, albeit Suarez’s performances on the pitch will have to convince the hierarchy that he’s still the man to lead coach Ernesto Valverde’s side to continue to win major honours.