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Barcelona’s focus turns to Cristhian Stuani and Girona

Will the champions regret not signing the Uruguayan?

Girona FC v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

As the third highest scorer in La Liga with 12 goals, it is no wonder that several media outlets jumped at the chance to report Barcelona’s interest in Cristhian Stuani this January transfer window.

While he has proven himself to be a consistently reliable attacking option with 21 goals in 33 appearances last season, it seems that Barca will not make a move for him due to having recently signed Kevin-Prince Boateng on a loan deal from Sassuolo. What remains to be determined, however, is whether or not Stuani will make much of an impact during the game against Girona on Sunday and if he will ultimately make Barca regret taking their sights off of him.

Looking at the current La Liga standings, Girona are in the position where most pundits would expect this team to be; 12th place with five wins, nine draws andsix losses. Outside of knocking Atletico and Alaves out of the Copa del Rey and defeating Valencia 1-0 in November, this mid-table side’s results have been mostly devoid of upsets.

Atletico Madrid v Girona - Copa del Rey Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Despite being hosts in this weekend’s clash, Girona go into the game with no advantages over the Blaugranes. Barca have been on a hot streak of note in La Liga, with seven consecutive wins, and they have been scoring tons of goals as of late, with highlights including their recent 3-0 triumph over Eibar and a 5-0 drubbing of Levante last month.

While there is always a chance of Stuani impressing on the night, as he did when he scored a brace in the 2-2 draw between Barca and Girona earlier this season, it is important to remember that circumstances were vastly different at that stage of the competition. Girona were in fifth place at the time, and doing substantially better than they are now, while Barca found themselves at the start of a four-match winless streak, which included a 2-1 loss to Leganes.

It is also necessary to note that if Girona’s currently poor team chemistry persists, Stuani will most likely not be able to have much of an impact on the match. This is because he is primarily a target man, and needs his supporting team-mates to perform if he is to enjoy any time on the ball. With their failure to perform at the top level in recent times, he has only been able to find the net once in his last six matches.

While Girona and Stuani should not pose a threat to Barca at the weekend, this does not mean that Stuani’s talent should be disregarded. He is still an effective striker for both club and country, and would be an asset to any top tier club including Barcelona. The factor that would make him a questionable signing for Barca is the role that he would be required to play at the club.

The fact that Boateng was brought in on loan shows that the need for an additional striker is temporary. The fact that he personally admitted that he is not expecting to be a regular starter shows that he understands that his role is that of a squad rotation player, who can effectively fill the spot that Munir has vacated.

Sevilla v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey Quarter Final Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Not only would it be a waste of Stuani’s talents if he were used as a back-up option, but Barca would surely overspend if they were to only acquire him for such short-term purposes. Stuani’s release clause from Girona is €15 million, while the Blaugranes reportedly spent approximately £2 million to loan out Boateng. It is also important to note that, while Boateng’s career has slowed down in the last couple of seasons, Stuani has been at his peak, playing regular first team football at Girona and amassing over 40 caps for the Uruguayan national team. It thus makes sense that Boateng accepts his fate as a back-up option. Stuani, on the other hand, would surely get frustrated with a lack of the playing time.

While Stuani is undoubtedly a standout player in La Liga, it makes sense for Barca to sign Boateng instead given their current needs. Furthermore, Stuani should not pose too much of a threat to Barca given his supporting team-mates’ failure to perform as of late. This fixture should be a guaranteed three points for Barca, which will come in handy as the Blaugranes look to hold their lead as they enter into the business end of the season.

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