REAL BETIS striker Loren Moron has emerged as a shock contender to replace Luis Suarez at Barcelona, according to reports.
Suarez and fellow forward option Ousmane Dembele are both ruled out with long-term injuries at the Camp Nou.
But owing to the serious nature of the injuries, under La Liga regulations Barcelona are allowed to sign another forward – despite the transfer window having slammed shut last week.
While the transfer loophole helps the Catalan giants, it only permits them to sign players from within Spain, somewhat limiting their options.
Marca claim that the hunt for a striker is on, with Moron emerging as an affordable target.
The 26-year-old is available for around £25million due to a clause in his contract.
The move would cap a remarkable rise for the Marbella native, who spent the early years of his career dwindling around the Spanish lower leagues.
He was signed by Betis for their B squad in 2015 and didn't make his first-team debut in La Liga until he was already 24-years-old.
Since then he has gone from strength-to-strength, notching ten goals in 24 games so far this season.
This included a goal and an assist against Barcelona at the Camp Nou back in August.
It was new Barcelona boss Quique Setien that gave Moron his La Liga debut and the 61-year-old knows all about the qualities that the forward possesses.
Willian Jose, targeted by Tottenham last month, has also been mentioned but the move is unlikely with Real Sociedad demanding a fee close to his £59million release clause.
Meanwhile ex Middlesbrough striker Cristhian Stuani is also of interest – despite playing in the second tier for Girona.
Barca are no stranger to a desperate January deal for a forward, having bizarrely signed Kevin-Prince Boateng last season.
Other, albeit less likely, options in Carlos Bacca, Kevin Gameiro, Jorge Molina and Deyverson are also being explored.
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