By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona are targeting Uruguay forward Cristhian Stuani of fellow Catalan side Girona as their number one target in the January transfer window, Spanish media reported on Tuesday.
According to Barcelona-based newspaper Sport, which dedicated its front cover to Barca’s pursuit of Stuani, the 32-year-old Uruguayan has a release clause of 15 million euros.
Fellow Spanish newspapers AS and Marca also claim Barca have been in discussions with Girona for Stuani, who is the third top scorer in La Liga behind Messi and Suarez, scoring 12 goals for mid-table Girona.
Barca’s lethal front two of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez lead the scoring charts with a staggering 31 goals between them, but the club have been left short of back up options due to Munir El Haddadi departing for Sevilla last week.
With Barca aiming to win a treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, signing an extra striker is essential to ensure Messi and Suarez, both aged 31, do not suffer from over-exertion.
Stuani has spent most of his career as a prolific forward for lesser known clubs, playing for the likes of Spanish sides Levante and Espanyol as well as English club Middlesbrough, where he spent two years before joining Girona in 2017.
He has made 46 appearances for Uruguay, most of which has come as a substitute, scoring five times.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)