Barca Plans to Replace Luis Suarez with Suarez

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Barcelona could turn to Luis Suarez’s namesake at Watford as they seek a replacement for the Uruguay forward to solve their striker shortage following his knee surgery.

Former Liverpool hitman Suarez has scored 14 goals in 23 appearances for the Liga title holders this season but is expected to miss most of the rest of the campaign following an operation on the right knee problem that kept him out of the Copa del Rey final last season.

That could lead new coach Quique Setien to turn to the Hornets’ Luis Suarez, who has performed almost as prolifically as his better-known counterpart by scoring 14 goals in 24 appearances for second division Real Zaragoza.

The 22-year-old has been on a productive run of form that has propelled Zaragoza to third in the table and attracted interest from Barcelona, according to The Sun.

Setien has lost Ousmane Dembele to a hamstring problem and is facing the prospect of top scorer Lionel Messi pondering a move away from the Nou Camp after the Argentina star was angered by remarks made by Sporting Director Eric Abidal.

The younger Suarez joined Watford’s youth squad in 2017 and made a temporary switch to Zaragoza last summer following loan spells with fellow Spanish sides Valladolid and Gimnastic.

He has never played for the Premier League strugglers but could now provide backup to Messi and Antoine Griezmann after Setien failed to bring in any new recruits during the transfer window in the aftermath of his appointment on January 13.

The in-form prospect could become the latest Luis Suarez to play for Barca,  following in the footsteps of another fabled attacking talent.

The Luis Suarez who played for Barcelona between 1955 and 1961 was a noted attacking midfielder who averaged a goal every other game before spending nine years at Inter Milan and enjoying a decorated managerial career, including three spells in charge of Inter between 1975 and 1995 and a three-year reign as Spain boss that took in the 1990 World Cup.

Speaking ahead of the trip to his former club Real Betis today, Setien admitted Barcelona ‘need to find somebody’, adding: ‘Versatility is obviously very important to us but that can be difficult to find.

‘You can only have what’s on the market. First, we need authorisation to sign a player.

‘We’ve got quite a few names on the list but there are other conditions that we need to think about. It doesn’t always depend on me or even on the club, but on circumstances.’