Barcelona may have signed Ferran Torres from Manchester City earlier this week, but Xavi Hernandez still lacks a top quality traditional number nine in his squad. Sergio Aguero was expected to fulfill that role, but the Argentine forward was forced into retirement owing to heart problems, just six months after joining the Catalan club.

Xavi is keen to bolster his forward line with a top quality forward and has identified Alvaro Morata as his preferred candidate. The Barcelona manager feels the Spain international will be the perfect fit for his team, while allowing the likes of Torres, Ansu Fati and Memphis Depay to thrive in the wide attacking roles.

According to Spanish publication AS, Xavi has made contact with Morata to assess his situation with Juventus, where he is currently on loan from Atletico Madrid. The Spaniard is said to be unhappy in Turin and is ready to return to his homeland and join Barcelona, on an initial six-month loan deal.

The Barcelona manager has reportedly informed Morata that he is not a stop gap solution for the second-half of the season, but a part of the more long-term plan. Xavi is keen to make his initial loan deal permanent at the end of the season, when the Juventus forward will have just one year remaining on his deal with Atletico.

Juventus are aware of Barcelona's interest and the player's agents potentially seeking a move in January. The Serie A giants are not sitting idle and have identified Krystian Milik from Marseille and Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo as potential replacements for the former Chelsea forward.

Barcelona have to consider their ongoing financial issues before considering a move for Morata, who currently demands at least €10 million in wages. He will have to take a pay-cut, which the striker is expected to be willing to accept in order to engineer a move to the Camp Nou, where he has a number of friends from the national team.

Alvaro Morata
Alvaro Morata scored Spain's winner against Sweden JORGE GUERRERO/AFP

Moreover, if Barcelona do want to make his loan deal permanent in the summer, they will have to potentially cough up at least €40 million for 29-year-old, the same deal Atletico have with Juventus for next summer. However, the Catalan club have a key piece in the jigsaw in Antoine Griezmann, who is currently on loan at Atletico.

Diego Simeone's team have an obligation to make Griezmann's deal permanent at the end of the current campaign, and Barcelona could use him as a bargaining chip to land Morata for a bargain price. Barcelona's current forwards Luuk de Jong and Martin Braithwaite are expected to depart either in January or for certain in the summer.

Newly-appointed Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez (right) alongside club president Joan Laporta at Camp Nou on Monday. LLUIS GENE/AFP