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Setien keen for Barcelona to sign striker as cover for Suarez

Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona coach Quique Setien said on Wednesday it would be “interesting” if the club signed a striker this month to replace the injured Luis Suarez. 

Suarez is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right knee, with Barca keen to buy a replacement to play in the centre of their attacking trio. 

Negotiations with Valencia over a deal for Rodrigo Moreno have reportedly stalled while Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan would be difficult to lure mid-season. 

“First of all I’m happy with what I have,” said Setien in a press conference. 

“It would be interesting for us if a player could come but I always focus on what I have. If anyone comes they will be welcome but if not, I will work with the squad that I have.” 

Barcelona play Leganes at home in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey on Thursday, when the pressure will be higher than usual following Saturday’s surprise 2-0 defeat away at Valencia in La Liga. 

The loss was Setien’s first in only his second league game in charge and has raised early doubts about his appointment after the sacking of Ernesto Valverde. 

Asked if he had spoken to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, Setien said: “He has always given me confidence. He told me to give myself time, there are still some staff whose names I don’t know. He told me to take my time, be calm and work as I have always done.” 

Barcelona’s defeat at Mestalla allowed Real Madrid to pull three points clear at the top of the table and the manner of their performance was particularly worrying. 

Setien’s style ensures Barca dominate the ball but they failed to create chances while defensive frailities remain unsolved. 

“More time and less pressure would be a lot better, that’s true,” Setien said. 

“But we understand the requirement to compete and achieve results. At the same time we need these concepts to see results. 

“Here these players do a lot of the things already that we were going to tell them to. Other players are new or don’t have the experience of the DNA of this club. 

“We know their needs and the expectations that there always are at clubs like this. We will do it as quickly as possible and we are providing a lot of information to the players so they can catch up.

“There is a lot of work still to be done and fortunately the intelligence of these players is a great help.” 

Barca are hoping to win the Copa del Rey for a fifth time in six years. Leganes are 19th in La Liga. 

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