Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said the club will target a midfielder in January in a deal similar to the one that brought Edgar Davids to the club in 2004.

Davids joined Barça on loan midway through the 2003-04 campaign when they were seventh in the table and helped spark a revival that saw them finish second.

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With Gavi ruled out until the end of the season, and after slipping seven points behind LaLiga leaders Real Madrid at the weekend, Laporta says Barça will look for a similar signing in January.

“If we manage to make the fair play work [with LaLiga], the idea is to have another midfielder to compensate for the loss of Gavi,” Laporta told EFE on Monday.

“It would be a loan until the end of the season, like we did years ago with Edgar Davids, for example. I think before the end of the year we can create the space for a couple of deals we are working on.”

ESPN revealed in October that Barça are keen to sign another midfielder to create competition for Oriol Romeu, who joined last summer as a low-cost replacement for Sergio Busquets.

The initial plan was to invest next summer, but an injury to Gavi, picked up while on international duty with Spain in November, has forced them to change their plans.

FIFA will compensate Barça for the injury to Gavi, who will be out for up to 10 months, while LaLiga will allow them some room within their league-imposed to register a replacement.

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However, the club’s financial problems mean they will have to explore the loan market, as they did with Davids almost 20 years ago. The Dutchman left after just six months at the club as a permanent move could not be agreed.

Barça will also bring in Athletico Paranaense striker Vitor Roque next month. The Brazilian will arrive for an initial €30 million ($32.7m) with an additional €31m due in possible add-ons as part of an agreement brokered last summer.

“The plan is that he arrives at the end of December or the beginning of January,” Laporta said.

“The idea is that he joins the team as soon as possible. [Sporting director] Deco has explained to us he’s a goal scorer and I think he will be good for us right now.”

Barça coach Xavi has blamed a lack of efficiency in the final third for his team’s recent results, with their winless run stretching to three games with Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Valencia.

They host winless Almeria on Wednesday at the Olympic Stadium before travelling to Dallas straight after the match to close the calendar year with a friendly against Mexican side Club América.

They sit third in the table, seven points adrift of Madrid and six behind Girona, who host Aláves on Monday, and are safely through to the round of 16 of the Champions League, where they were paired with Napoli in Monday’s draw.