Stung by Neymar’s decision to join Paris Saint-Germain for a world record 222 million euros ($263.5 million), Barcelona need to act fast to find a replacement with less than four weeks to go until the transfer window closes.
Here, AFP Sports looks at five of the candidates to take Neymar’s place alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in the Barca attack.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Targeted by Barca even before his international teammate jumped ship, Coutinho ticks many of the boxes in Barca’s search.
At 25 he is the same age as Neymar, already has experience of what it takes to shine in La Liga from a loan spell at Barca’s cross city rivals Espanyol in 2012 and is a former teammate and friend of Suarez.
However, faced with the ultimate seller’s market, Barca’s problem will be prising Coutinho out of Liverpool.
Despite being flushed for cash themselves from booming Premier League TV contracts and a return to the Champions League, Liverpool have so far failed to land their primary targets in Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita of RB Leipzig, and are therefore even more unlikely to buckle to pressure from Barca as they did in selling Suarez back in 2014.
Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
Constantly compared to Messi due to their Argentine upbringing and gifted left feet, Barca know only too well of the damage Dybala can cause as he scored twice to knock the Catalans out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage last season.
At just 23, he could be the perfect heir to Messi’s throne.
Yet, he also signed a new five-year contract in April meaning Barca would have to part with the vast majority of the Neymar money to have any chance of convincing Juventus to sell.