It is no secret that Barcelona have been looking for a No9 to complete their squad. The Catalans are looking for a long-term heir to Luis Suarez. Last year, Luka Jovic was an option, but he didn't convince and ended up at Real Madrid. The new name on the table this season is Dutch international Donyell Malen. The PSV striker, just 20, is the top scorer in the Eredivisie. He's going to have big offers next summer and Barça have moved to keep themselves in the race. His name is on a shortlist drawn up by the club.
Barça have had an eye on Malen since last season, although it's the current season which has seen him explode. The club have had him watched several times already and there's a growing belief he could fit the profile required at Camp Nou.
Malen's a player with a lot of qualities. He started his career at Ajax, but as 16 joined Arsenal. He was playing as a winger in England but moved back into a central position when he returned to Holland with PSV two years ago. He's good in the box, although he's versatile and can go wide. This season, he's scored 10 goals in nine league games.
A lot of clubs, above all in the Premier League, are in constant contact with Malen's entourage. PSV could sell, but they would be looking at a fee of around 60 million euros, with Arsenal linked with a move for their former player in England.
Barça, though, feel the lack of goal scorers on the market could lead to an inflated price. That happened with Jovic, a player Barça felt wasn't worth 50 million, but his fine season with Frankfurt saw Madrid stump up the price.
Malen is represented by Mino Raiola, an agent who is a specialist in starting auctions. Barça, though, feel the relationship with Raiola is normal despite the summer's De Ligt saga. Of all the players on his books, Raiola has said that Malen is the one he's most convinced will go on to be a huge star. Time will ell if he's right.
Barça are planning for next season with the idea of having a No.9 who can complement Suarez and grow alongside him, becoming an important player in the future. They're unlikely to go for a bigger name because the prices are all huge. Malen, who played for Holland against Belarus on Sunday, is currently the striker who's most interesting the club. The final decision is a long way from being taken, but the option is there.