Eric Abidal has confirmed that Barcelona are interested in signing Inter forward Lautaro Martinez as a possible replacement for Luis Suarez.
Suarez is approaching the final 18 months of his current contract at Camp Nou and at 32-years-old is unlikely he will be offered the chance to extend his stay.
It has been suggested that the Uruguay international could leave Barca next year , with summer signing Antoine Greizmann now pushing for the central striker role in Ernesto Valverde’s line up.
Barca are expected to bolster their attacking ranks even further when the transfer market re-opens, with an emphasis on targeting the best young talent in Europe.
Lautaro falls into that bracket at the moment, after emerging as one of the most deadly finishers in Serie A with Inter this season.
The Argentine has hit five goals in 12 league appearances and added three more in four Champions League outings, forging a formidable partnership up front with Romelu Lukaku.
Lautaro has been named as a potential successor for Suarez at Camp Nou and Abidal has now officially registered Barca’s interest in the 22-year-old.
“He is a complete player, I think he is performing at a great level,” Barcelona’s sporting director told Mundo Deportivo .
“He is a player we know, there are other players who also have a lot of quality.
“I know Barca, I know what adaptation is like, but I don’t pay much attention to the player who plays every weekend, I look at others.”
Abidal also weighed in on Suarez’s future at Barcelona, insisting that the experienced frontman is already aware of the club’s intention to recruit another “offensive player”.
He added: “I am transparent with the players, Luis can tell you because last year I already told him that it was going to be like that, that we were going to look for an offensive player and I don’t say he did not accept it, he accepted it because he wants the best for the team.
“Today I can tell you that there is no priority, the planning will always be done, no matter the position in the field, the only change will be the decision. It may be the first signing, the second, it depends on whether there are injuries, exits, ethics, etc.”
Suarez will reunite with the rest of Valverde’s squad after the international break, with a trip to Leganes in La Liga on the cards on November 23.
Barca will then turn their attention back to the Champions League, with Borussia Dortmund set to arrive at Camp Nou for a crucial Group F clash four days later.