Barcelona’s pursuit of Manchester City attacker Raheem Sterling is no secret at this point. The Catalans had been hot on his trails in the summer but a move never materialised. Since Xavi Hernandez took over the reins, they have once again become aggressive in chasing the Englishman ahead of the January transfer window.
However, a move to land the ex-Liverpool star looks difficult. It is claimed that Barcelona, bound by their financial problems, are only looking at players who they can sign on loan in the winter. In addition, they wish to include an option to make the transfer permanent at the end of the season, and not an obligation to do so.
But, Manchester City are stressing that if Barca take Sterling on loan they make it obligatory to sign him on permanently, making the deal complicated. As a result, they have now switched their attention towards Chelsea duo Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner reports ESPN.
The Blaugrana are mainly targeting players that are not regulars for their current teams, which very much holds true for both Ziyech and Werner at Chelsea. The former, signed for €40 million from Ajax last year, has been bogged down by injury issues at Stamford Bridge while his game-time under Thomas Tuchel has not been significant.
Indeed, this term, Ziyech has started just two Premier League games. Meanwhile, Werner, who signed on from RB Leipzig in a €53 million deal, has failed to establish himself in west London as well. The German international’s profligacy in front of goal prompted Chelsea to go big on Romelu Lukaku this summer, leaving him behind in the pecking order.
Barcelona are intent on bolstering their attacking unit in January, with Xavi especially keen on reinforcing his wide areas. Ziyech, while not necessarily a traditional winger, would add a lot of value to the team with his vision and ability to create chances. As for Werner, his searing pace and ability to play anywhere across the frontline could make him an asset at Camp Nou.
Any moves for the pair, however, would depend on Barcelona’s ability to offload some of their current players. The Catalans are in no position to register new players in January after the hiring of Xavi and his staff, and the re-signing of Dani Alves – something that director Mateu Alemany has confirmed.
So, the Catalans will first need to shed some load off their wage bill in order to make room for any new arrivals in January, be it Ziyech, Werner or primary target Sterling himself.