Valverde open to January signings amid Suarez successor rumours

Barcelona has been linked with pursuits of new strikers and centre-backs, and Ernesto Valverde is not against making mid-season signings.

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez   -  Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde believes that Barcelona should always be on alert about potential transfers amid reports that it wants to sign a new defender and a successor to Luis Suarez.

It has been suggested the LaLiga champion is beginning to explore options to bolster its attack, with in-form Suarez turning 32 in January.

With Paco Alcacer thriving on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Munir El Haddadi is the only obvious back-up for the central striker position, prompting reports that Barca is considering moves for the likes of Timo Werner and Lautaro Martinez.

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Valverde is delighted with the performances of Suarez, who has seven goals in nine starts in the league this season, but sees no harm in keeping an eye on the upcoming transfer window.

"Barca are always alert to the market and planning for the market. It's a logical thing, not just for Luis. He is in a great moment of form and he stands the test of time very well," he told a news conference.

Alcacer has shone at Dortmund this term, scoring eight goals in five matches in all competitions, and the Bundesliga leader is thought to be keen to sign him on a permanent basis.

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Valverde is happy to see the Spain international enjoying regular first-team football, but would not be drawn on his future.

"It was good for him to go, and for everyone. We're pleased because he has more time to play. There is competition here that makes it difficult to put all of them in the team. He's showing a great level. We will talk about the future," he said.

Barca has also been tipped to sign a defender early next year, particularly given injuries to Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen, and Valverde would not rule it out.

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"We're waiting for Umtiti and Vermaelen to recover. I want them to recover as soon as possible. We're happy with them. Barca should always be attentive in the market," he said.

Amid talk of possible new signings, much has been made of a lack of first-team opportunities for three of Barca's biggest recent arrivals.

Ousmane Dembele continues to struggle for regular starts, while Arturo Vidal and Malcom, signed this year, are reported to have grown frustrated at being left out by Valverde.

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However, the Barca head coach suggested each player could have something to offer in a busy few weeks to come.

"He's training really well. We knew his competitive level. He's training more and that takes him to a great level. He has an unmatched competitive edge," he said of Vidal.

On Dembele, he added: "It's true that it depends on the game whether we're interested in wide players who can open the pitch to us. Maybe, he was suited to that the other day, with closed defences, but it's something that can be improved, as well as his recovery after losing the ball."

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