Following Paris St Germain’s rescue from a shock Champions League exit to Atalanta by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Barcelona have made last-minute efforts to bolster their options with anyone who ever played for Stoke City added to their transfer targets of their clash with Champions League favourites Bayern Munich.
The Spanish giants saw the La Liga title slip from their grasp after returning from lockdown, and not fear they’ll be minced and turned into bratwurst by the impressive German side.
In a desperate effort to avoid that fate the club are said to be “probing all options” by consulting Tony Pulis and Mark Hughes as they frantically search for ex-Stoke Premier League stars to avoid a Champions League exit.
“They have Messi, but any team can do with Ricardo Fuller too,” Pulis is reported to have said ahead of Friday’s clash.
“He can definitely do it on a wet Wednesday night at Stoke, why not a humid Friday evening in Lisbon?”
Meanwhile, Mark Hughes was keen to emphasise his “Stokelona” era and some potentially useful players. “Bojan would also be natural fit – don’t know if you’ve heard, but he played for Barca before? I know he didn’t play like it, but he really was on their books – and Mame Biram Diouf was at United and could do a job.”
“How about Stephen Ireland? Though we’d have to check with his granny first.”
And there are reports the Catalan club could even look beyond Ex-Stoke forwards.
“The thinking at the club is they need to mix it up.”
“‘Can we get Rory Delap on the phone? Can he still throw a ball? And is more use off the bench than Griezmann and Dembele.’ That’s what Messi is saying at training today.”
“And Charlie Adam is the player Busquets could’ve been – and he’d make Luis Suarez look fit.”
When it was pointed out that UEFA would not allow any new players to be registered ahead of their game in Lisbon, a source within added, “They said the same about Martin Braithwaite.”
“And look at him now. He’s sh*te, but he’s Barcelona sh*te.”