Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal BarcelonaGetty/Goal

Aubameyang interest talked up by Barcelona sporting director Abidal as they target striker signing

Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has dropped a big hint over the club's interest in Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he outlined their desire to land a striker in the summer transfer window.

As revealed by Goal, Barca were keen on an ambitious loan move for the Gunners star although were under no illusions that the north Londoners would entertain any such offer.

The likes of Lautaro Martinez and, prior to his move to Dortmund, Erling Haaland were on the Catalan giants' wish list although they ultimately decided against bringing in any new faces in January.

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Aubameyang's contract expires in 2021 and Barca may well attempt to capitalise on the situation with a renewed effort to land the former Dortmund star.

And Abidal has now confirmed the club's aim to bring in an attacker, with the Liga champions needing a long-term replacement for 33-year-old Luis Suarez, who is currently sidelined for a lengthy spell after undergoing knee surgery.

Abidal told Sport: "There is a list with players like [Olivier] Giroud, [Fernando] Llorente or Aubameyang, but for one thing or another we decided not to sign [anyone]. We believe it is the best for the club.

"I know him (Aubameyang). I do not have much to do [with him] beyond sports. He has a profile that has depth. He is important, and in his team he is decisive. It is good to bring this profile of player who can be in the market and can help you. We’ll see what will happen.

"It is logical that in summer a '9' will come. It is a necessity. We know that Suarez will come back strong, but you have to bring a top player in the summer.

"We do not know if he will be young or experienced. We only look at the talent and adaptation they may have. We must think that some top players have come and have not adapted well."

Abidal also discussed Barca's form of late, with the Catalans having been beaten in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final by Atletico Madrid on January 9 before a further defeat, to Valencia, would follow in new head coach Quique Setien's third game in charge.

That has seen Barca fall to second in the table, behind Clasico rivals Real Madrid, with Abidal suggesting that the players were not working hard enough under sacked former head coach Ernesto Valverde.

That prompted a frustrated Lionel Messi to post an update on his Instagram page that criticised the Frenchman's comments, urging him to "give names" if he feels the need to question the playing staff.