A penny must have dropped at Barcelona following their dismantling at the hands of Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.
It’s clear that this Barça side, despite the presence of Lionel Messi, isn’t capable of keeping up with Los Blancos until major signings are made.
Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho are priorities and, while both Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool have no interest in selling, Barça’s sporting director Robert Fernandez insists talks are underway with both clubs.
"We are negotiating and that is the truth,” Fernandez said, per Sky Sports. “With all respect to both clubs, logically in a negotiation you need time to reach agreements for them and for us.
“We still have days ahead and we would like to go forward with this. It is true and I recognise this, that they are two players we feel like bringing here."
Barcelona have less than two weeks to get the deals done and one imagines their desperation will have risen drastically following their 5-1 aggregate defeat to Real.
Yet former Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, who won the Ballon d'Or in the 1960s, has reservations about the targets, insisting neither is “the solution” to the club’s problems.
"These two parties had little history and signings such as Dembele and Coutinho are not the solution,” Suarez told Carrusel Deportivo, per the Liverpool Echo.
The decision Barcelona have made
With Liverpool and Dortmund both playing hardball over their star players, Barcelona have started to look for alternatives.
That's according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, who says Barça understand how difficult it will be to sign Coutinho and Dembele.
“Yes (they are after both players),” Balague said on Sky Sports, per the Liverpool Echo.
“The idea of course is to use all the money from Neymar and more, because they will have to pay wages and all that, for those two players.
“The likelihood is they won’t be able to afford both of them. If one cost £150m and say Liverpool one day sold, it would be for a lot of money.
“So I’m not sure they can afford both of them, but they are going for both of them.
"They are looking for alternatives already because they realise both clubs are very strong in their positions."
“They don’t see him (Coutinho) as a midfielder really, they see him as a forward. With Neymar, they wouldn’t have gone for Coutinho.
The Blaugrana received more bad news on Thursday when it was confirmed that Suarez, who scored 29 goals in La Liga last season, will miss the start of the season after suffering a right knee injury in Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid.
Suarez will be sidelined for up to five weeks, meaning he will miss matches against Real Betis, Alaves and Espanyol, and possible Barça’s trip to face Getafe in mid-September.
If only one player is available, should Barça sign Dembele or Coutinho? Let us know in the comments section below!
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