Rumour has it that Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is in talks with Barcelona as the Argentinian is all set to leave England at the end of the season.
Aguero, 32, will leave the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires this summer after scoring an incredible 258 goals in 388 games for the club.
Barcelona have to cut costs because of financial difficulties but the opportunity of signing a world-class goalscorer on a free transfer is attractive to the La Liga side who have clearly missed Luis Suarez since his departure to Atletico Madrid.
There has been an over-reliance on Messi and the 6-time Ballon d’Or winner is not getting any younger so with Aguero leading the line, it could take a huge burden off the Barca captain’s shoulders as well.
“It’s not done yet but everybody wants it to happen,” said BBC Sport’s Guillem Balague.
“The club [Barcelona] and Aguero’s camp are talking.
“They know they have to cut costs and are doing four different independent audits to see how much money there is, which then means they will know what kind of contract proposal they can put to Lionel Messi.
“But amid that backdrop, they are looking for opportunities in the market. Aguero is free and would be an improvement on Martin Braithwaite. They have to sell a lot of players and they will try to do so but this would mean they have the certainty of a goalscorer.”
Aguero is close friends with Messi and the pair have played together regularly for Argentina. Bringing in the fourth-highest scorer in Premier League history would help the club’s negotiations with their captain, who has plans of leaving his boyhood club this summer and he may just join the club Aguero is leaving.
“This is not a request from Messi but it’s certainly a way to convince him about what they are trying to do,” added Balague. “But it’s a step down from the interest they have shown in Borussia Dortmund‘s Erling Braut Haaland – and that is something they would like to revive if they can bring in money from outside the club.”
Barca boss Ronald Koeman spent two-and-a-half hours having lunch with club president Joan Laporta on Thursday. It is not certain Koeman will still be at the Nou Camp next season and Laporta has his doubts about the Dutchman, but he has been impressed by how the manager has handled a difficult transitional year.
Hansi Flick, who has announced his exit from the Bayern Munich head coach role, is being linked to the Barca job and the Catalans want him to replace Koeman for the start of the new season, apparently.
“While they are assessing their finances they have to be clever,” said Balague. “So they have kept Ramon Planes, who is a very shrewd mover in the market and he has already prepared a detailed report on different situations: if there is no money, if the squad stays the same, if it doesn’t.
“There are a bunch of players, like Memphis Depay, they can get and Aguero is one of those.”
Barcelona have had a mixed season. They were eliminated in the UEFA Champions League last-16 stage by Paris Saint-Germain and are four points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid with just two games to play, but their form in the second half of the season improved significantly to keep them in the hunt for the title.
However, the draw against Levante cost them dearly as you have got to say that they are pretty much out of the title race and it now comes down to the Madrid sides going at it.