Former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic has suggested that Liverpool ace Roberto Firmino would be a better fit for his old side than Lautaro Martinez.
As noted by Sport, the Catalan giants continue to be heavily linked with a swoop for Martinez, with the talented Argentine international having a €111m release clause in his current contract.
With Luis Suarez turning 34 next year and Ousmane Dembele continuing to be hampered by injury problems, more reliable and quality competition and depth is arguably needed at Barcelona to support Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in their bid to win more trophies moving forward.
While Martinez has certainly impressed this season and has been a crucial figure in Inter’s pursuit of success, Bojan believes that his former club need an out-and-out striker who can lead the line and link up play, and so they would be better off targeting Firmino instead of potentially having to deploy Martinez in an unnatural role and risk seeing him struggle just like Griezmann.
“Inter don’t usually take the initiative and that makes me think that Lautaro could occupy an area at Barca that is naturally not his,” he is quoted as saying by Goal.com, via Sport. “[That is] something that would certainly be a shame.
“If you allow me a name, I would bet more on Firmino: a link player, with a lot of presence and great mobility.
“I do not intend that this reflection be interpreted as a refusal to sign the Argentine, but I understand that his profile must be analysed very well because it would be unforgivable that, as happened with Griezmann, we sign a striker to put him on the wing and then complain that it doesn’t work.
“That cannot happen again because, although it seems obvious, a nine is a nine. That is his natural habitat and to move him from there is to waste his talent. If Barca need a nine, sign him, but do it to really use him.”
Firmino has been a fundamental figure in Liverpool’s success in recent years, and has continued to show his importance this season with 11 goals and 12 assists. He has made 43 appearances as his reliability and endurance is solid, as is his ability to set the tempo and standard in terms of his work off the ball to defend and pressure the opposition from the front.
Still 28 years of age, he could have his best years ahead, and given the need for a player to lead the line and essentially do what Suarez does so effectively to allow Messi, Griezmann and others to flourish, Bojan makes a fair point.
Nevertheless, firstly it remains to be seen if Barcelona have an interest, but secondly given how crucial he is to Jurgen Klopp’s side, it seems highly unlikely that the Merseyside giants could be convinced to consider an exit any time soon but if so, it could take a huge fee to prise him away from Anfield.
In turn, time will tell if Lautaro is the priority and if he is a success if he does indeed move to the Nou Camp ahead of next season.