Barcelona are thinking about going head to head with Liverpool for the services of promising Ajax winger Anwar El Ghazi, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Catalans have been heavily linked with Arsenal target Nolito in recent months but the reports now claim that the club have identified El Ghazi and former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie as potential alternatives, due to concerns about the age and the price tag of the Celta Vigo player.
The Champions League winners are looking to bolster their attack during the January transfer window after manager Luis Enrique finds himself left short of options to back-up Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez following the departure of Pedro to Chelsea in the summer. Having coached Nolito both at Barcelona's second-team and at Celta, the manager is keen to reunite with the Spanish international at the Barcelona first-team.
Reports, however, have been claiming that the board are hesitant to pay his €18m (£13m) release clause for a 29-year-old player, while Arsenal's Arsene Wenger is closely monitoring the situation. Furthermore, Barcelona's vice president for the economic area, Susana Monje, recently confirmed reports saying the Catalan giants should stay away from making big spends in the January window due to club debt.
Mundo Deportivo therefore claims that Barcelona are considering their other alternatives − Van Persie and El Ghazi. The Catalan publication understands that the former United and Arsenal striker would be a good option because he will be available on the cheap.
Meanwhile, El Ghazi would require a bigger investment but being just 20-years-old his signing could pay off in the long-term better than Nolito. The Catalans scouters have been watching him in action during a couple of games with Ajax this season, where he is proving to be a sensation in the Netherlands' Eredivisie league, having scored eight goals in nine appearances despite not being a striker.
The problem for Barcelona, however, is that according to Mundo Deportivo they will have a "tough competitor for his services as Klopp also wants him for Liverpool".
The Guardian already suggested recently that the German manager has the Netherlands player on the top of his January shopping list – with Atletico Madrid also monitoring the situation.