Ronald Koeman pleads with Barcelona chiefs to sign a striker this month


Ronald Koeman has demanded Barcelona bring in a striker during the January transfer window after seeing his side squeeze past Huesca on Sunday night.

The Catalan giants won 1-0 at LaLiga’s basement boys thanks to Frenkie De Jong’s 27th-minute goal, with Lionel Messi providing a fine assist on his return to the team after an ankle injury on his 750th appearance for the club and 500th in LaLiga.

Koeman’s men are now fifth in the table, 10 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who have played one game fewer.

But Barca once again looked ineffectual in the final third of the pitch with Antoine Griezmann dropping to the bench as Messi, Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite started in attack.

Frustrated by his side’s lack of goal threat, Koeman said post-match that his side ‘need someone at the top to have more competition and goals’.

‘I trust each player in our squad,’ he said in his post-match press conference.

‘But if we choose to have three midfielders there is room for three forwards.

‘With Leo we bet on someone with great depth like Dembele, and we have to choose between Martin or Antoine at the top and Martin has done it.

‘It’s a nine that we’re missing in these games but it doesn’t mean anything in regards to Antoine’s substitution. We have a lot of games and we need all the players.

‘We have said several times, at the beginning of the season, that we need someone at the top to have more competition and more goals, more effectiveness, but this depends on many things.’


The former Southampton and Everton boss also described January as ‘very important for our aspirations’ after beating Huesca in the first of four successive away games.

Barca’s next match is at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, and they are then at Granada three days later and Elche on January 24.

Koeman added: ‘This month is very important for our aspirations because we have lots of games away from home and, if we win them, I think we can fight.

‘We’ve seen this weekend that it’s not easy to win away from home. If a team (above us) goes on a bad run, the gap can be closed, but it depends on us winning.’

Barca only scored once despite numerous attempts on goal, including two Messi efforts that were well saved by Huesca goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez, while the hosts went close through on-loan Wolves forward Rafa Mir and saw a late push for an equaliser prove in vain.

Koeman said: ‘We can improve on our final ball, on picking up positions inside the box.

‘I’m happy with Frenkie’s goal because we want our midfielders to get into the opposition box. We hope to be more clinical because you win games easier (like that).’