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Barcelona targeting former Middlesbrough striker in emergency move

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Barcelona are set to make a move for former Middlesbrough man Martin Braithwaite as they look to use the emergency transfer system to replace the injured Ousmane Dembele.

La Liga’s emergency transfer system allows a team, if their application to use it is successful, to sign either a free agent or a player from another La Liga team – and it must be completed within the next two weeks.

That player is then only eligible to play in domestic competition, this disqualifying him from the Champions League squad.

According to Mundo Deportivo, the man who has been selected to fill the void left by Ousmane Dembele is none other than Middlesbrough flop Martin Braithwaite.

Braithwaite, who currently plays for Leganes in La Liga, has impressed in Spain this season. His statistics, while not amazing, come with the caveat that they were attained while playing for a team second bottom in the Spanish top division.

The 28-year-old has six goals and one assist in 24 appearances in La Liga, plus two goals and an assist in the Copa Del Rey. All in all, that means Braithwaite accounts for exactly 33% of their 18 goals in the league so far this season.

READ MORE: Son Heung-Min injury highlights Tottenham January failure but offers opportunity to 18-year-old

Barcelona need emergency striker

Braithwaite Barcelona bound

Braithwaite has been in Leganes since last January, initially on a loan deal but it became permanent in the summer as Middlesbrough decided to cut their losses.

You may be inclined to think “surely Barcelona have enough depth to cover ANOTHER Dembele injury” and you’d be forgiven for thinking such thing, but Quique Setien has just three first team forwards fit.

Mind you, those three forwards are Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati – if you’re going to be restricted to three forwards, there’s worse trios to have than this it must be said…

The reason behind their lack of depth comes from the current injury to Luis Suarez, which has seen him play just one La Liga game so far this calendar year. As well as that, the clubs hierarchy sanctioned the departures of Carles Perez and Abel Ruiz in January – meaning the club are struggling for depth.

Braithwaite, while I’m sure he won’t come in and become the new Suarez, will offer a different option to Quique Setien – which I’m sure will be very welcome given they’re knee deep in a title race and still have the Champions League knockout phases to contest.

One thing that does concern me though is that this is a little unfair on Leganes. They’re a struggling team who need all the help they can get in their relegation battle and Barcelona are about to nick their top striker outside of a transfer window, meaning they can’t even replace him – which is a joke.

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