Ronald Koeman has confirmed Martin Braithwaite remains part of his plans at Camp Nou despite speculation linking him to West Ham United and Everton, according to Tuttomercatoweb.
That news doesn’t mean a man who has barely kicked a ball in Barca colours since completing his controversial move from Leganes will suddenly lead the charge under Koeman.
But with the transfer window closing on Monday, Luis Suarez gone and Lautaro Martinez still an Inter Milan player, the Kings of Catalonia suddenly look light up top.
In fact, Braithwaite is perhaps the only classic centre-forward in Koeman’s squad – and even he played his best football at Leganes as a roving number ten.
Speaking after a 4-0 thumping of Villarreal on opening day papered over the cracks in his Barca squad, Koeman admitted the seldom-seen Dane has a part to play – at least until Barcelona can sign someone else.
“I need him because we want two or three players per position and he can play in more positions, like (Antoine) Griezmann or (Lionel) Messi,” says the former Holland boss.
“Martin is more of a number nine but we need to add more players in this position.”
Mundo Deportivo reported in August that West Ham had entered advanced negotiations over an £18 million deal for the one-time Middlesbrough forward before the deal hit the buffers.
Everton were also interested (MD).
The Toffees, however, can boast arguably the most in-form striker in European football at the moment with Dominic Calvert-Lewin netting his second hat-trick of the season in Wednesday’s 4-1 thrashing of the Hammers in the Carabao Cup fourth round.
Everton’s opening fixtures of the 2020/21 season
West Brom (H)
Crystal Palace (A)