Should Memphis Depay leave Barcelona in this month’s transfer window, Barcelona would seek a replacement for the second half of the season to play backup to Robert Lewandowski.
Depay is expected to leave the Blaugrana when his contract expires at the end of the season. However, there have been reports that a transfer in January is possible, with numerous clubs interested in signing the Dutchman.
Despite this, Barca head coach Xavi Hernandez is keen on keeping Depay at the club as they seek a first La Liga title in four years. They sit top of the table after matchday 15, despite drawing against Espanyol in Saturday’s Derbi Barceloní.
Should Depay leave, Wolves striker Raul Jimenez is being considered as a possible option to replace him, according to journalist Ekrem Konur, as per Sport. The Mexican striker has struggled for game time this season at the Premier League club, and is now behind new signing Matheus Cunha in the pecking order at Molineux.
The former Atletico Madrid man had been a mainstay of the side before he suffered a horrific head injury in 2020. He fractured his skull in a collision with Arsenal defender David Luiz, and subsequently missed the remainder of the 2020/21 season.
On the face of it, it’s a very strange link for Barcelona. Despite the club’s financial woes, signing the third choice striker of the team that sit 19th in the Premier League is a bizarre look, and feels like a step backwards for a club that is attempting to get back to where it once was in the footballing world. However, it could be naive to write off Jimenez on these facts alone.
Although he has struggled post-injury, he could provide sufficient backup to Lewandowski. It’s easy to forget that he was one of the best strikers in the Premier League before his layoff. In the 2019/20 season, he bagged 27 goals in all competitions, which included 17 league goals.
Barcelona are reportedly keen on signing a more number 9-like signing, in a similar mould to Lewandowski, so that the team’s tactics don’t require a drastic change for when the Polish striker is out of the team. In this category, there may not be many better candidates than Jimenez out there that would be in Barca’s budget, especially when his wage demands are unlikely to be excessive.
The key of any potential would depend on the price. Although Jimenez is now third choice at Wolves, the club may demand a larger than usual transfer fee for his services. This would be because the club is spending €50m on Cunha in the summer, so they will look to offset some of that cost in any fee for the Mexican.
However, should Barca replace Depay with Jimenez and make a significant net profit, it could be a shrewd piece of business, especially if the Mexican forward can recapture his pre-injury form. Although his previous spell in Spain at Atleti was rather unsuccessful, a change of scenery could get his career back on track.