Barcelona have contacted Leganes regarding the potential signing of striker Martin Braithwaite and the Madrid club are worried losing him will doom them to relegation, according to majority shareholder Felipe Moreno.

After having Ousmane Dembele ruled out for six months last week, Barca are reported to have been granted special dispensation to sign a new player despite the transfer window being closed.

The regulations in place stipulate the player they sign must either be registered with another Spanish club already or a free agent.

Angel Rodriguez, Willian Jose, Lucas Perez and Loren Moron were said to be the initial candidates, but in the past few days Leganes' Denmark international Braithwaite has seemingly emerged as the most likely option.

Leganes confirmed Barca made contact with them on Monday but insist Braithwaite will only leave if his reported €20million release clause is triggered, with Moreno expressing concern after the relegation-threatened side lost another striker in Youssef En-Nesyri to Sevilla last month.

"Yesterday [Monday] afternoon they called and contemplated this situation," Moreno told reporters on Tuesday. "They only made contact once.

"The truth is that we are very worried. After what happened to us with En-Nesyri, now what happens with Braithwaite ... staying in LaLiga gets more complicated every day. In these next hours we will know what happens, yes or no.

"I don't know if anyone will come from Barcelona today. The player has a day off and we have not talked to him.

"I understand why Braithwaite would go to Barca, I would too. But of course, we are not going to negotiate anything. They pay his clause, or he stays at Leganes.

"I can understand that Barca do this if the law allows them to, but I thought that they couldn't sign an active player, only one free agent. I was surprised."

After 24 LaLiga matches this season, Leganes are second-bottom of the table, only ahead of Espanyol on goal difference and two points adrift of Celta Vigo in 17th.

Barcelona had an approach for Loren Moron rejected as they continue to explore options to ease their injury woes, according to Real Betis coach Rubi.

Barca were dealt a severe blow this week when they confirmed Ousmane Dembele is expected to be out for six months after hamstring surgery.

With Luis Suarez also sidelined, Barca are reported to have been granted special dispensation to sign a replacement, providing the player in question is either a free agent or already based in Spain.

Willian Jose, Angel Rodriguez, Lucas Perez and Loren were said to be their chief targets, though a reported €12million budget limits them significantly.

And Rubi admitted Barca did make an approach for Loren but were unsuccessful, with Betis not willing to let the player go.

"Loren is going to end the season with Betis," Rubi said of the striker who has scored eight LaLiga goals in 22 appearances this term.

"They have asked, but the operation is 99 per cent not done. We don't want him to leave and they have looked at many [players].

"Loren trains just as well as always. This is something that happens in football.

"We couldn't sign another player unless his release clause is paid. Loren's €50million, so 99 per cent it is not done.

"The information I have is that he is [staying] here and that is what we all want."

Loren, 26, was given his league debut for Betis by current Barca coach Quique Setien in February 2018.

Barcelona expect Ousmane Dembele to be sidelined for six months, meaning a new signing could be imminent at Camp Nou.

Under LaLiga regulations, teams can look to the transfer market outside the window if they lose a player to injury for more than five months.

However, they can only sign individuals from the top two tiers in Spain, or those who are available as free agents.

With Luis Suarez also ruled out until May, we look at the options Barca could go for in order to bolster their attack.

 

Willian Jose (Real Sociedad)

The former Real Madrid striker was heavily linked with a move to Tottenham during the January transfer window but a move did not come to fruition. However, Barca reportedly only have a budget of €12million, which could prove to be insufficient to sign Willian Jose, who has fallen behind Alexander Isak in the pecking order at the Reale Arena.

Angel Rodriguez (Getafe)

A more realistic option appears to be Getafe's Rodriguez, who is believed to have €10m release clause. The 32-year-old has scored nine LaLiga goals for Jose Bordalas' Champions League-chasing side this season but has started just six top-flight matches.

Lucas Perez

After failing to make his mark in the Premier League at Arsenal and West Ham, at Deportivo Alaves Perez has rediscovered the sort of form that encouraged the Gunners to sign him from Deportivo La Coruna in 2016. He has scored nine LaLiga goals and laid on four more for Alaves this season and strike partner Joselu, formerly of Real Madrid, this week revealed he has urged Perez not to join Barca.

Loren Moron

Head coach Quique Setien coached Moron for two seasons at Real Betis and he is the club's leading goalscorer in LaLiga this season, finding the net eight times and supplying two assists. Betis president Angel Haro said at the weekend there has been no official contact from Barca, and Moron's release clause is understood to stand at €40m.

Ousmane Dembele will be out for around six months after having hamstring surgery, Barcelona confirmed.

The injury-plagued Frenchman will miss the rest of the season and is unlikely to return in time for France's Euro 2020 campaign, which begins in June.

Barca confirmed on February 6 that Dembele was due to go under the knife in Finland, with the winger having suffered a ruptured tendon in his proximal hamstring in his right thigh.

Following the procedure on Tuesday, Barca expect the former Borussia Dortmund talent to be out until August.

Dembele has endured an injury nightmare at Barca, suffering several serious problems since arriving at Camp Nou for an initial €105million in August 2017.

This term he has been limited to just nine appearances across all competitions, the last coming against former club Dortmund on November 27.

Barca are expected to be granted special dispensation to sign a replacement for Dembele, though regulations will limit them to a free agent or a domestic player.

The injury is also sure to impact France's preparations for Euro 2020.

Dembele has been a regular for the world champions ever since making his debut in 2016, but he will now likely play no part in the European Championship.

Ousmane Dembele will be out for around six months after having hamstring surgery, Barcelona confirmed.

Barcelona have confirmed Ousmane Dembele will have surgery next Tuesday after suffering a rupture to his hamstring.

Dembele sustained the injury in training on Monday, having been stepping up his recovery from a right hamstring problem that has sidelined him since November.

A statement on Tuesday confirmed Dembele suffered a "complete proximal hamstring tear in his right thigh".

The club is still unable to provide any information about a potential return date, though media reports have suggested they do not expect him to play much of a role – if any – in the remainder of the season.

A Barca statement read: "Barcelona player Ousmane Dembele will undergo surgery on Tuesday, February 11 in Turku, Finland, to treat a rupture to the proximal tendon of his right hamstring.

"Once the operation has been concluded, further information will be given regarding his approximate recovery time."

Dembele has only made nine appearances for Barca this season and spent a month out earlier in the campaign with a left hamstring injury.

The 22-year-old arrived from Borussia Dortmund for an initial fee of €105million in August 2017 but his time at Camp Nou has been blighted by injury.

He underwent surgery on his left hamstring one month after joining the club and did not return to action until January 2018.

Dembele suffered another strain in the same thigh four games after making his comeback and spent another month on the sidelines.

At the end of the 2018-19 season, a sprained ankle was followed by a left hamstring strain and a right hamstring injury to restrict his involvement in the team.

New coach Quique Setien had recently spoken of his excitement to have Dembele back in contention after the club failed to bolster their attacking options following a serious injury to Luis Suarez.

However, Barca are said to be confident of securing special dispensation from authorities to bring in reinforcements outside of the transfer window following this latest setback.

Quique Setien is concerned for Ousmane Dembele though is unsure if Barcelona will have to make signings to replace the injured winger.

Dembele seems set to miss the rest of the season after sustaining a tear in his right hamstring in training on Monday.

The France international had been working his way back from a hamstring issue in the same leg which had kept him out since November.

News of Dembele's injury was somewhat overshadowed by Lionel Messi's public criticism of Barca director Eric Abidal on Tuesday, though the 22-year-old's continued absence leaves Setien short of numbers up top, with Luis Suarez also out.

However, Setien is not convinced Barca, who have Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao joining from July 1, will do further business to replace Dembele.

"These are things that are pending that will be talked about first of all. We are going to see what the diagnosis is for the problem Dembele has, how long he's going to be out," Setien told a news conference ahead of Thursday's Copa del Rey clash with Athletic Bilbao.

"Once we know that and have all the info we'll take decisions. It's true I was very excited to get Ousmane back to help us, this is obviously an unfortunate situation but I've always had problems in my career and what I always try to do is find solutions.

"We'll see if it's going to be a long time out and if we can sign someone, we'll have to wait and see, and if not we'll try to find the path to give the team solidity, consistency and identity that is required to win games.

"We'll always look at things positively and with excitement. I always said I'm going to be happy here and this doesn’t stop me from being happy.

"I'm worried most not about Dembele as a footballer. He's an extraordinary kid who works with intensity and desire to come back. It could be three, four or five months without playing football which is the thing he likes to do the most."

When pressed on Barca's failure to bring in reinforcements up front, Setien said: "Well I'm sure we'll always have 11 players! I'm sure we'll always be competitive as well. In football these things happen.

"But we are going to be competitive with what we have. If we can't sign anyone for any reason, it doesn’t matter, we are going to work with the same excitement and desire, ensuring players that are here are completely committed.

"You can see that today we had another extraordinary training session and are completely focused on the game tomorrow which is what completely bothers us.

"I would like to have more players. If we had known about the injury to Ousmane, I don't think Carles Perez would have left the club. But I'm not going to be crying permanently about things, I need to transmit positivity to my squad."

Ousmane Dembele's Barcelona career was dealt another setback on Tuesday.

Barca announced the 22-year-old France international has sustained a complete proximal hamstring tear in his right leg and it is reported he will sit out the rest of the season.

Dembele has been plagued by injuries since arriving at Camp Nou from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105million in August 2017.

The latest injury came as he stepped up his return from a right hamstring problem that has sidelined him since November.

 

The numbers

In total, injury problems have forced Dembele to miss 59 matches for the Catalan giants. That is equivalent to 40.4 per cent of the games Barca have played in LaLiga, the Copa del Rey, the Champions League and the Supercopa de Espana since his arrival.

The winger has played just 31.4 per cent of the total minutes that would have been available to him across all competitions had he not suffered any injuries at Barca.

Based on his transfer fee alone, he has cost the club a whopping €1.4million per match.

 

The problem

Luis Suarez is out until May after undergoing knee surgery. Carles Perez was allowed to join Roma on loan with an option, that could become an obligation, to buy. Abel Ruiz will spend the rest of the season at Braga and then complete an €8m transfer there. Francisco Trincao will not arrive from Braga in a €31m switch until the end of the campaign. Barca reportedly pulled the plug on a loan deal for former Villarreal striker Cedric Bakambu before the transfer deadline.

With Dembele set to miss a significant period of time, Barca are hamstrung in the attacking department and it is a mess of their own making.

Head coach Quique Setien had been counting on Dembele's seemingly imminent return to bolster his attacking options after the club failed to bring a new forward in during the January transfer window.

"The transfer market did not give us anything, but we will also recover Dembele," Setien said following a 5-0 victory over Leganes in the Copa del Rey last week.

"He is a player who has specific attributes and I think he can give us a lot. He feels comfortable out wide and we will try to take advantage of that.

"I'm sure he will give us a lot with the potential he has and will demonstrate the great player he is. Dembele is going to be amazing."

 

The solution?

Barcelona have instead looked to their B team to improve their depth, with Kike Saverio and Rey Manaj added to their Champions League squad for the rest of the campaign.

Ecuador-born striker Saverio won the UEFA Youth League in 2017-18 and is strong on both feet but has only scored four goals in 34 appearances for Barca B.

Former Inter attacker Manaj joined the second string for an initial €700,000 from second-tier side Albacete in January. He scored his first goal for the club a 2-1 win over Prat on Sunday, but his second outing ended before half-time as he was sent off for two bookable offences.

Although Ansu Fati notched a double in the 2-1 victory over Levante on Sunday, it has been reported Barca will look to sign a free agent from outside Spain as emergency cover.

Regardless of their next move, Barca will be at a significant disadvantage as they seek to retain their LaLiga title and push on in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Ousmane Dembele has been diagnosed with a complete hamstring tear in his right leg, Barcelona announced on Tuesday.

Dembele sustained the blow during a training session on Monday, having been stepping up his recovery from a right hamstring issue that has sidelined him since November.

While the club provided no time frame for his recovery, multiple reports in Spain claim Dembele will be forced to sit out the rest of the season.

A Barca statement read: "Tests carried out on Tuesday on Ousmane Dembele have shown that the player has a complete proximal hamstring tear in his right thigh.

"In the next few hours a decision will be made on the treatment to be followed for his recovery."

Dembele has only made nine appearances for Barca this season and spent a month out earlier in the campaign with a left hamstring injury.

The 22-year-old arrived from Borussia Dortmund for an initial fee of €105million in August 2017 but his time at Camp Nou has been blighted by injury.

He underwent surgery on his left hamstring one month after joining the club and did not return to action until January 2018.

Dembele suffered another strain in the same thigh four games after making his comeback and spent another month on the sidelines.

At the end of the 2018-19 season, a sprained ankle was followed by a left hamstring strain and a right hamstring injury to restrict his involvement in the team.

The latest setback will be a bitter blow for head coach Quique Setien, who was counting on Dembele's return to bolster his attacking options due to Luis Suarez being ruled out until May after undergoing knee surgery.

Setien stated Dembele would be an "amazing" addition when he regained fitness, with the club having failed to bring in a forward during the January transfer window.

"The market did not give us anything, but we will also recover Dembele," said the Barca boss.

"He is a player who has specific attributes and I think he can give us a lot. He feels comfortable out wide and we will try to take advantage of that.

"I'm sure he will give us a lot with the potential he has and will demonstrate the great player he is. Dembele is going to be amazing."

Ousmane Dembele has been diagnosed with a complete hamstring tear in his right leg, Barcelona announced on Tuesday.

Ousmane Dembele has suffered a setback in his attempt to return from a thigh injury for Barcelona.

Barca confirmed the 22-year-old felt "discomfort in his right leg as a consequence of muscle fatigue" in a training session on Monday.

The club added he would continue with his rehabilitation and did not provide a specific timeline for his return.

Dembele has not played since coming off in the first half of Barca's 3-1 home win over former club Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League group stage on November 27.

He was initially ruled out for 10 weeks and has only started three LaLiga matches this season, spending time in Qatar during his initial period of treatment.

New Barcelona head coach Quique Setien had discussed Dembele last week, saying he had no concerns about the club failing to sign a striker in the January transfer window because the forward will be "amazing" when he returns.

Dembele joined Barca for an initial €105million in August 2017 but has frequently struggled with injuries during his time in Spain.

Quique Setien has no concerns about Barcelona failing to sign a striker in the January transfer window because Ousmane Dembele will be "amazing" when he returns from injury.

Barca director Guillermo Amor confirmed before Thursday's 5-0 Copa del Rey last-16 victory over Leganes that no back-up to Luis Suarez – ruled out until May with a knee injury – will be signed, negotiations for Valencia attacker Rodrigo Moreno having broken down.

Lionel Messi scored twice and was involved in the other three goals as Setien's side enjoyed serene progress to the quarter-finals, with Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet and Arthur hitting the target.

Setien acknowledged the lack of a new signing leaves Barca's attack in a precarious position, though Dembele has been eased back into full training since the weekend having been sidelined since November with a thigh injury.

Asked about the lack of a signing, Setien said: "I will be calm. There is a risk of injury and it cannot be controlled. I am used to working with what I have.

"It was not to be. The market did not give us anything, but we will also recover Dembele.

"He is a player who has specific attributes and I think he can give us a lot. He feels comfortable out wide and we will try to take advantage of that.

"I'm sure he will give us a lot with the potential he has and will demonstrate the great player he is. Dembele is going to be amazing."

Dembele signed from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105million in August 2017 but has frequently struggled with injuries.

Barca's victory over Leganes saw them emphatically bounce back from the first defeat of Setien's tenure, a 2-0 loss to Valencia on Saturday that saw them fall three points behind Real Madrid in LaLiga's title race.

"We did very well in the first 20 to 25 minutes. It's true they could have hurt us, but we did many things well. However, I am not entirely satisfied," Setien said of Thursday's display.

"We scored but we lost control of the game and gave them a lot of life when we had to control the game."

Barcelona will be without Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Arthur and Ousmane Dembele for Saturday's LaLiga derby with Espanyol.

All three players have been left out of the 18-man squad for the clash with Abelardo's side.

Head coach Ernesto Valverde confirmed earlier on Friday that goalkeeper Ter Stegen would be unavailable due to a knee tendon injury that also makes him a doubt for the Supercopa de Espana in Saudi Arabia.

Midfielder Arthur is expected to be out for three weeks with a groin problem, while forward Dembele has not yet recovered from his latest thigh muscle injury.

There is also no room in the squad for defender Jean-Clair Todibo, who has been linked with moves to Milan and Everton this month.

The good news for Barca is that Ansu Fati has been given the all-clear to travel, while Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal - who only trained for the first time since the holidays on Thursday - are included.

Barca head into 2020 with a two-point lead at the top of LaLiga.

Ousmane Dembele's latest injury lay-off has affected the player and represents a "big loss" for Barcelona, according to head coach Ernesto Valverde.

The 22-year-old injured his right hamstring in the first half of Barca's 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined until February.

It is the latest in a string of fitness issues Dembele has suffered since his €105million transfer from Dortmund in August 2017, including three thigh problems, two damaged hamstrings and an ankle sprain.

Valverde is unsure why the France international has been regularly struck down by injuries over the past few seasons and wants others to fill the void.

"I'm not a specialist in muscle fibres," he said at Saturday's news conference. "I say that everything comes from the first injury. I do not have a concrete idea [of why he picks up these injuries]. He is a very explosive player.

"I've talked to him. Now he is calmer after the injury, but he was very affected especially by the repetition [of a muscular injury]. We'll try to cover for the loss with players from the B team, who are responding by playing at a good level.

"It's clear that when he arrived here two years ago, he had to get used to our style and fit in here. It is true that he was improving, being calm, training well. He is a big loss and it's an unexpected setback."

Dembele will be unavailable during a tricky run of fixtures for LaLiga's champions, who face Atletico Madrid on Sunday before matches against Mallorca, Inter, Real Sociedad and Real Madrid.

Barca have come from behind to draw 1-1 on their previous two trips to Wanda Metropolitano and Valverde expects another tough test this weekend.

"In both games we fell behind and we had to come back, but they followed a very similar pattern," he said on the eve of the match. 

"We took the initiative, but they hurt us by attacking us. It is possible that it will become like this or that there is some modification tomorrow. They are good in attack and strong in defence, very cohesive. It'll be an attractive match.

"Any match at Atletico's ground is important for everyone. It is one of the important matches for everyone and we have to play well."

Arturo Vidal is expected to be part of Barcelona's travelling squad, despite suggesting this week that he will force through a move next year if he is not given more playing time.

Valverde does not believe the Chile international is pressuring him into getting more minutes, however, adding: "I don't think so. It's more a personal reflection. The transfer market isn't open yet, so when it starts we'll see.

"He fitted in well from the beginning. When he arrived he already knew that he was coming to a team that had won the league and cup.

"He found his place. The great players want to play, there is a lot of competition, but I reiterate that the market has not opened yet."

Ousmane Dembele will receive treatment on his injured hamstring at a sports medicine hospital in Qatar, Barcelona have confirmed.

Dembele is expected to be sidelined until February by the injury to his right hamstring, which he sustained during the first half of Barca's 3-1 win over his former club Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old will be unavailable during a tricky run of fixtures for the LaLiga champions, who face Atletico Madrid on Sunday before matches against Mallorca, Inter, Real Sociedad and Real Madrid.

Dembele's injury is the latest in a string of fitness issues he has suffered since his €105million transfer from Dortmund in August 2017, including three thigh problems, two damaged hamstrings and an ankle sprain.

A statement on the club's official website said: "Ousmane Dembele is to begin treatment on his right hamstring injury on Sunday, alternating between Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital in Qatar and work closer to home at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.

"The entire recovery programme is being supervised and run by the FC Barcelona medical services.

"The initial forecast is that the player will be out of action for around 10 weeks."

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