Barcelona director of football Mateu Alemany has confirmed that striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be the club’s No. 9 for the 2022-23 season amid intense speculation the Catalans want to add another attacker in the summer.
Alemany spoke to Movistar ahead of Barcelona’s quarter-final second leg against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Camp Nou and was asked about the club’s transfer plans, as reported by transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
“Pierre Emerick Aubameyang will be Barcelona’s number 9 next season,” he said. “We are more than happy with Auba and his performances.”
The Gabon international arrived at the Camp Nou in the January transfer window on a free transfer from Premier League side Arsenal. Aubameyang signed a deal that runs until June 2025 but contains a break clause that can be activated in June 2023. His release clause has been set at €100 million.
The 32-year-old has proved to be an instant hit during his brief spell with the Catalans, scoring 10 goals in just 14 outings for Xavi’s side.
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Xavi Talks Lewandowski Rumors
Barcelona have been linked with a host of attackers for next season, including Bayern Munich frontman Robert Lewandowski. Xavi was asked about the rumors at a news conference on Wednesday, April 15 and was fairly coy about any possible interest in the striker.
“I understand the question, but this is not the time to speak about it,” he said. “He is a great player, but we have to focus on tomorrow’s game.”
Bayern have attempted to play down rumors of a Lewandowski exit by insisting the veteran will stay at the club next season, as reported by Football Espana.
“Apparently there is a competition to see who can come out with the biggest nonsense about Robert Lewandowski. Definitively, we will have Robert with us next season. It’s very important to mention that we have a contract with him that is valid for next season. If there’s anything to say, we will do so,” he said. “The club isn’t crazy and is not discussing the transfer of a player that scores between 30 and 40 goals a season. We have a contract with Robert. We have always said we would start conversations, we did so a while ago.”
Lewandowski is contracted to Bayern until 2023 but is yet to agree an extension with the Bavarian giants. The striker has been in superb form again in the current campaign, scoring 47 goals in all competitions for Bayern.
Ansu Fati Set To Return
Barcelona’s financial problems mean the club will find it tricky to bring in a big-name striker this summer, while the imminent return of teenage striker Ansu Fati may convince the club there is no need to strengthen the attack.
Fati is one of the club’s brightest young stars but has been plagued by injury in recent seasons. Xavi confirmed in his news conference the teenager is close to a return but Barca won’t take any risks.
“It’s all about how he feels. He has done well with his running, with peaks of high speed. He is training well with the group, taking part in almost 100% of the sesssions,” he said. “We don’t have a deadline. It depends on him and when he tells us he’s ready.”
Fati has five goals in 10 matches this season despite his injury problems. However, if the teenager can return to top form and stay fit then he will likely feel like a new signing and will another dimension to the Barca attack.