Barcelona are eyeing Chelsea duo Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner as alternatives to Raheem Sterling, according to reports.
Cash-strapped Barcelona’s financial situation has left the club scouring the market for alternatives to mega-money deals this season.
With the Catalans embroiled in financial ruin, they will have to free up some money if they intend to make any signings in the January transfer window and instead they could look for players to arrive on loan first.
Director of football Mateu Alemany confirmed last week that Barcelona will be unable to register any new signings when the transfer window opens in the new year.
The arrival of Dani Alves and new coach Xavi has left them on the brink of their LaLiga spending limit this season.
Barcelona are now said to be targeting players who are struggling for game time at other clubs in an attempt to lure them to the Nou Camp on loan, according to ESPN.
The club are reportedly prepared to include an option to buy clause in the deals but are not keen on making it obligatory.
The LaLiga side explored the option of signing Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling in summer and have considered revisiting it in January.
The striker – who has 18 months left on his contract at City – played a starring during England’s Euro 2020 campaign but has fallen down Pep Guardiola’s pecking order.
The 26-year-old is said to believe the opportunity to play regular football in LaLiga is too good to turn down and reportedly asked City to sanction a move to Barcelona.
But the cost of the move and City’s reluctance to let the forward leave without an obligation to buy at the end of the season makes any deal complicated for Barcelona.
The Catalans have, therefore, turned to Ziyech and Werner as alternatives after competition for places and injury have pushed the duo to the fringes of Thomas Tuchel’s squad.
Ziyech has started just two league games this term and made a total of eleven appearances across all competitions, while Werner’s injury has restricted him to ten games.
Barcelona reportedly have approached Chelsea over the availability of the pair, who are both in their second season at Stamford Bridge.
The club could be set to further raid Stamford Bridge as new coach Xavi is reportedly keen on bringing Cesar Azpilicueta to the Nou Camp.
But Chelsea may not be keen to let Azpilicueta go as the Spaniard is the club’s current captain and remains a pivotal cog in Tuchel’s side.