Barcelona are on the lookout for a new number nine after losing striker Sergio Aguero, who is expected to call time on his career after being diagnosed with a heart condition. The Catalan club have identified FC Basel forward Arthur Cabral as their number one choice, and are expected to make a move when the winter transfer window opens in January.

The former Palmeiras forward has been prolific for the Swiss club this season. Cabral has registered 23 goals and eight assists in just 24 games in all competitions, which has seen a number of clubs from across Europe take notice.

According to Spanish media outlet Sport, Barcelona believe the young Brazilian fits the profile of attacking talent the club is currently looking for. The La Liga giants are expected to try and sign him in January. FC Basel could be ready to sell, with the forward's current deal expiring in the summer of 2023.

Cabral's talent was first spotted by former Barcelona midfielder Deco, who is the Catalan outfit's head scout in Brazil and Portugal. The 23-year-old reportedly comes highly recommended by the former Portuguese midfielder, which has seen Barcelona begin initial talks with the Swiss Super League club about signing the forward in January.

The Basel forward, who was recently called up to the Brazil senior squad, is said to be delighted after learning of Barcelona's interest and is ready to make the switch to the Catalan capital. The Swiss outfit and the La Liga side have a good relationship and the negotiations are expected to go smoothly for the striker, who is currently valued between €15 million and €20 million.

While the draw of playing for Barcelona should make agreeing personal terms easy, the Catalan club's current financial situation could play a part when it comes to raising the transfer fund that is needed. Recently, Barcelona's director of football Matheu Alemany suggested that the club will not be able to make any signings in January owing to the club's crippling debt and €97 million spending cap for the 2021-22 season.

However, Barcelona can raise the funds by offloading first-team players not in Xavi Hernandez's plans going forward. The likes of Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and Neto are among senior stars that are available for transfer, while it has also been reported that Barcelona may be willing to part with the £75 million rated Frenkie de Jong just to ease their financial burden.

Xavi Hernandez is the leading contender to take over from Ronald Koeman KARIM JAAFAR/AFP