Barcelona step up Jovic pursuit with scouting mission for Frankfurt hotshot

Luka Jovic Eintracht Frankfurt 2018-19Getty Images

Members of Barcelona's board of directors were in Milan on Thursday evening to scout Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic, Goal can confirm.

Pictures circulated from Italy showed the Blaugrana's technical secretary Eric Abidal, his assistant Ramon Planes and sporting director Pep Segura at San Siro for Frankfurt's Europa League last-16 second leg with Inter.

Jovic, who has scored 15 goals in the Bundesliga this season, has been on the radar of the Camp Nou outfit for some time, and the decision makers in Catalunya were keen to keep tabs on a potential summer acquisition.

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They likely will have been impressed as the Serbia international scored the only goal of the game in the sixth minute to secure his side's passage through to the quarter-finals at the expense of the Serie A giants.

Jovic has now found the net on 22 occasions in all competitions this season, and Barca are one of a number of clubs who are monitoring his progress ahead of potential summer moves.

Chelsea have already shown an interest in the 21-year-old, though their upcoming transfer ban and failure to have it delayed despite appealing to FIFA looks set to scupper their chances of securing a deal.

Manchester City, meanwhile, are understood to have also entered the race in recent weeks, though it seems Spanish champions Barcelona are currently at the front of the queue.

Either way, Frankfurt are likely to want €60 million (£52m/$68m) for the forward should they look to sell this summer despite them only having to pay Benfica - Jovic's parent club - €6m (£5m/$7m) themselves this summer to make his loan deal a permanent one.

Should Barcelona decide against spending that kind of cash, they will remain on the lookout for a new forward come the end of the season as they attempt to find suitable back-up for Luis Suarez.

Luis Suarez Barcelona 2018-19Getty Images

The Uruguay international is currently being supported by on-loan Sassuolo striker Kevin-Prince Boateng, but the Blaugrana are keen to bring in a permanent signing this summer who can both challenge and eventually succeed Suarez as the club's No.9.

Other names on their list of targets include Suarez's compatriot Maxi Gomez, who has scored nine goals and laid on five assists for Celta Vigo this season despite them battling to avoid relegation from La Liga.

A further option is Portugal international Andre Silva, who has scored 11 goals in all competitions during a loan spell at Sevilla this season having been surplus to requirements at AC Milan.

Barca's current squad, meanwhile, return to action on Sunday as they travel to Andalusia to take on Real Betis and take another step towards defending their Liga title having opened up a seven-point gap on second-placed Atletico Madrid.