When Ernesto Valverde signed on the dotted line to become the new manager of Barcelona, he probably wouldn’t have imagined that this is how things would have unfolded in his first few months in charge.
The first major loss that they’re still struggling to overcome is the big-money departure of Neymar, after Paris Saint-Germain caused shockwaves when they splashed out €222 million to sign the Brazilian superstar.
They suffered a nightmare 5-1 aggregate loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Final with Marco Asensio stealing the show, while Luis Suarez is now injured and is expected to miss five months of action and not every fan is overly ecstatic with the signing of Paulinho.
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Valverde has a big job to do, and it’s been well-documented just how much he and the Camp Nou side wants Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool and Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund.
Unfortunately for them, though, they’re continually being knocked back in their approaches, despite offering around the £100 million mark, as they look to invest the Neymar funds wisely.
The Coutinho saga is one that’s proving to be the biggest headache, as the Anfield side and Jurgen Klopp are adamant that he won’t be going anywhere, even if he has handed in a transfer request and they won’t be entertaining any figure that the Blaugrana suggests.
Although it’s a hefty sum to pay for Coutinho, Barca sporting director Robert Fernandez has admitted that they are facing an uphill battle to sign Coutinho because he doesn’t have a release clause in his current contract.
If he did, they might have already activated it by now.
According to Mirror Football, Fernandez said: “Not just Barca but any team looking for top quality players are getting involved in a very difficult situation in this market.
“Why? Because the market is where clubs like us want to sign top quality players. There’s no buy-out clauses so that makes things trickier.
“Yes, we are negotiating with clubs to make several signings, but in all awareness of the difficulty. We need to work our way into a favourable situation and hopefully close these deals as quickly as possible.
“Dembele and Coutinho are two important players that we like a lot and have done for a long time. They have the conditions, the right age and could adapt to our football. They would be good to have here. That’s the reality.
“With respect to Liverpool and Dortmund, when there are negotiations you need time, you need to work things into a favourable situation for players and ourselves.”
In this instance, it looks like Liverpool were wise not to sneak in a release clause in the contract he signed earlier this year, and it looks like Barca’s long summer of struggles is set to continue.
Will Barcelona succeed in signing Philippe Coutinho or Ousmane Dembele? Have YOUR say in the comments section below.
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