Why Luis Suarez replacement must be a priority for Barcelona

Barcelona were absolutely right to buy Luis Suarez back in the summer of 2014 for €82 million. The Uruguayan striker had been a key protagonist at Liverpool, scoring 82 goals in 133 appearances and, perhaps more importantly, earning a place in the hearts of Red fans across the world.

Joining Barça had always been a dream for Suarez. From his early days at Ajax, El Pistolero had his sights set on a move to the Camp Nou and worked hard throughout his career to earn his well-deserved transfer to the Catalan capital.

From the very moment he landed in Barcelona, Suarez understood that collective success was always going to be dependent on establishing an understanding with Messi and if needed, compromise his own positioning and individual achievements.

Four years on, Suarez is certainly a key reason why Barcelona have added 12 titles, including one Champions League and three La Liga titles, to the Camp Nou museum since his arrival. Our friends at RedBet believe the streak will continue. The 155 goals the Uruguayan has scored in 209 appearances have certainly helped as well.

However, Father Time has not been kind to Suarez. Although being 31 years of age would not be a huge handicap for your average footballer, Suarez's overreliance on physicality and bursts of pace means that his performances drop dramatically whenever he is not in optimal condition - as is the case now given his latest knee injury.

Particularly this season, Suarez has lost that extra degree of sharpness that allowed him to have the edge over rival defences. Paired up with a disconcerting lack of accuracy in front of goal, it is understandable that many Barcelona fans are running out of patience with him - even though Ernesto Valverde continues to stand by him.

Personally, however, I trust that Suarez will pick himself back up and continue to be an effective threat upfront. Sure, perhaps he won’t ever be as efficient a scorer as he was back in 2015, but the many assists he continues to provide for Messi gives the team balance and harmony and, for that, he deserves to be trusted this year.

Looking ahead, however, the Barcelona board would be wise to test the waters in the European market in order to find the ideal replacement that, as much as we hate to say it, Suarez will need sooner rather than later. Signing a world-class replacement as soon as next summer is a must - even if it was to compete with the Uruguayan for the starting spot as Barca's striker during his first season.