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Barcelona shift focus on €38 million-rated Chelsea forward following difficulty in Sterling move

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Barcelona’s links to Raheem Sterling refuse to go away. The 26-year-old has been on the Catalan giants’ radars since summer, and the links have continued to intensify ahead of the January transfer window.

However, Barca may have difficulties getting a deal over the line because of the finances involved, while the interest from Arsenal could complicate matters further. As a result, the Blaugrana are keeping their options open and looking at potential alternatives.

According to SPORT, Barcelona have identified Chelsea attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech as an alternative and could launch a loan swoop for the Moroccan international come the mid-season trading period.

Ziyech has been with Chelsea since last year, having joined from AFC Ajax, but has struggled to nail down a starting berth at Stamford Bridge. Fitness issues have been an issue while he has not fit well into Thomas Tuchel’s system, resulting in reduced game-time. Indeed, the 28-year-old has featured in just four Premier League games this term.

With Ziyech’s situation being as it is, question marks have been raised over his future. There have been links to reigning La Liga champions, Atletico Madrid. Now, Barca, too, have shown an interest in the 28-year-old former Ajax ace and are mulling over the possibility of making a loan swoop for him in January.

While he would not exactly be a like-for-like alternative for Sterling, Ziyech would add a lot of value with his playmaking abilities and eye for a goal. His time at Chelsea might not have panned out all too well so far, but the Moroccan’s quality is undoubted.

Considering that Tuchel has not used him regularly, there could be a chance that Chelsea will allow him to leave in January. It will be interesting to see if Barcelona decide to go after Ziyech or continue to persist with their pursuit of Sterling. Either way, the Catalans need an attacking signing in January without question.

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