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Luis Suarez: Three potential replacements for the Barcelona striker

When he’s good, he’s very, very good. Some even say he’s still the best striker in the world.

But when he’s bad, well, Luis Suarez is average at best. And at almost 32 years of age, even the Uruguayan has admitted that Barcelona need to sign someone to take over his mantle.

Given Paco Alcacer’s form since leaving on loan for Borussia Dortmund, one can infer that the club will be kicking themselves that they never gave the former Valencia man more time on the pitch, and Munir El Haddadi clearly isn’t the answer.

A replacement of the level required certainly isn’t going to come cheap for the Catalans either, but they’ll get what they pay for.

The issue will once again come down to integration. Like it or not, Suarez is going to have to accept a reduced role at some point and, frankly, players are not going to come to the club to play second fiddle – especially after seeing the treatment metered out to Alcacer.

There’ll be plenty of agents wanting to put their clients forward for the position, and some will naturally have more merit than others.

Three candidates from the Premier League are worth a shout...

Alvaro Morata

The Chelsea forward has the advantage of having played in Spain before, albeit for Barcelona’s arch rivals Real Madrid, and also lining up alongside some of the current Blaugrana side.

At just 26 years of age he’s yet to hit his peak and has plenty more left in the tank.

He’s as physical as Suarez when needed, exhibits a high standard of hold-up play and would also give the Catalans some decent aerial presence.

With an acceptable short and long passing game, Morata has all of the attributes to succeed at the Camp Nou.

The carrot of a more permanent recall to the national side would surely appeal to him too.

Morata

Roberto Firmino

They do love a Brazilian at Barcelona. With Philippe Coutinho already in situ and Neymar no doubt keen to espouse the virtues of the club, it won’t necessarily be a hard sell for Roberto Firmino.

His biggest issue would be that he wouldn't be able to move for a another two years due to a clause Liverpool reportedly forced Barcelona to include in the deal for Coutinho that restricted the Spanish giants from buying from the Reds for three years.

Firmino was a fearsome part of Liverpool’s best attacking unit for years in 2017/18, but his form has dropped off considerably so far in this campaign.

Though that’s far from a reason to consider selling him, looking at the bigger picture it’s entirely possible that the Reds see the Brazilian as easier to replace than the electric Sadio Mane and ‘The Egyptian King,’ Mo Salah.

He’s a year older than Morata at 27 but is the same age as Suarez when he made the move from Anfield. As balletic as he is physical, Firmino brings something different to the table.

Hazard

Eden Hazard

The oldest of the three at 28, but arguably the most natural fit.

Eden Hazard’s skill set isn’t in question and neither is his ability to influence the Chelsea side in which he plays.

Ostensibly played out wide for the Blues, he’s still scored more than Morata, Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Willian combined so far in 2018/19.

Maurizio Sarri has already identified that the Belgian could be played as a centre-forward in the right set-up, and that so doing will only improve his natural game.

What he lacks in height, he more than makes up for with his nous, intricate ability with the ball at his feet and awareness of those around him.

Barcelona have always enjoyed utilising those players who are smaller in stature, and Suarez is no giant either, let’s face it.

A long-held dream to turn out for Real Madrid hasn’t come to fruition, leaving the door ajar for the Blaugrana to make their move.

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