'I can be Barca's No.9' – Griezmann ready to fill Suarez void after failed striker search

Antoine Griezmann Barcelona 2019-20
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The Blaugrana came up short as they scrambled to bring in a back-up and the Frenchman is ready to fill the void left by the crocked Uruguayan

Antoine Griezmann has said that he is ready to step up as Barcelona's main striker after the Catalan club failed in their attempts to sign an adequate back-up for the injured Luis Suarez in the winter transfer window.

Barca had been trying to get a deal over the line to sign Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno, but could not match Los Che's asking price of €60 million (£51m/$66m). 

The Blaugrana had tried several different approaches, including a loan, but Albert Celades' outfit were insistent that Barca were obligated to buy the Spaniard, which did not sit in line with the club's financial strategy for the year.

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Attentions then turned to Real Betis' Loren Moron but yet again the Camp Nou club came up short. 

Barca's main target as a long-term successor to Suarez is Inter striker Lautaro Martinez, but will wait until the summer to properly pursue the Argentine.

For now, Quique Setien's options are limited, but with Griezmann having played as a centre-forward at various points throughout his career, the Frenchman claims that he can be the one to fill Suarez's boots in the Uruguayan's absence.

“If the club need me as a No.9, I'm here to help,” Griezmann said on Thursday. “If I'm on the left or in the middle, perfect.  All I want is to help the team.

“I'm used to playing inside - I know where to move and I have more freedom, but I'm at this club to help.”

Indeed, Griezmann helped Barca ease to an emphatic 5-0 win over Copa del Rey opponents Leganes on Thursday evening, the World Cup winner opening the scoring after just four minutes after being teed up by Nelson Semedo.

It was the club's best performance to date under new coach Setien after a shaky start, but goalscorer Griezmann admits he and his team-mates still have some way to go before the boss' methods fully sink in.

“We're trying to learn how to play from the coach,” he added. “We still have things to improve but we're on the right track.”

Next up for Griezmann and Barca is a home date against Levante on Sunday, with the hosts needing three points to keep pace with La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

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