There’s already been a suggestion that this season could be Luis Suarez’s last at Barcelona.
That hasn’t come from the player himself, or his club, though the rumours are gathering pace with Inter Miami apparently interested in taking the Uruguayan at the end of the current La Liga season.
By then Suarez will be 33 and a half, and, although not quite ready to be put out to pasture, will surely relish the opportunity to rest during the season should he stay.The other issue regarding the centre-forward is one that appears to stunt the growth of any pretenders to his throne.
Again, not his lookout if the players just aren’t good enough to dislodge him, though there’s a cogent argument that Antoine Griezmann plays better in a central role rather than on the wing.
However, because of Suarez’s status within the squad, the Frenchman won’t get a look in, in his favoured position.
Ernesto Valverde is caught between a rock and a hard place at the moment, because when El Pistolero is on his game, there’s still no finer centre-forward in the world.
But the real top level performances, in the big games and particularly in Europe, are now few and far between.
Even Suarez himself has accepted that he’s getting no younger.
“There will come a time when my age won’t allow me to be at the high level that it is needed for Barcelona,” he told Uruguayan publication Ovacion.
“But while I can and have the strength, it’ll be much better if they bring in competition. It’s not strange if they’re looking for or want to bring in another striker.
“That’s the reality of football. It will be better for me because it will place demands on me. It’ll be better for the club because it’ll boost competition.
“It has been five years with the same pressure and I always try to respond in the same way. It’s not easy to come to play at a club like this and win your place. You have an exam every three days. There’s no rest and a bad day isn’t forgiven.”
In order to find someone of Suarez’s calibre, the club will need to spend big again, unless they’re looking to Griezmann to step into the centre-forward role next season.
The Frenchman isn’t a natural goalscorer in the way in which the Uruguayan is, however, so that might also force a rethink in terms of the club will play going forward.