Barcelona could hardly turn down £198 million when Paris Saint-Germain came calling for Neymar, but there’s no denying they still took a huge risk.
Replacing the Brazilian was never going to be easy and it’s proved as much, with Barca at dire straits following rejected bids for Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele.
The Blaugrana vowed to reinvest the money from Neymar’s sale but sporting director Robert Fernandez has admitted they’re struggling.
“Not just Barca but any team looking for top quality players are getting involved in a very difficult situation in this market,” Fernandez said, per the Liverpool Echo.
“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. 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.”
Liverpool and Dortmund are both holding firm by rejecting any bids for Coutinho and Dembele respectively, especially the former.
Barcelona made a huge £118 million offer for Coutinho on Friday, but Liverpool are adamant they will not be selling this summer unless their £140 million valuation is matched.
It leaves the Catalans with a tough decision to make: continue pursuing Coutinho and Dembele, or focus their attention elsewhere before they run out of time.
A lot can change in the space of a week and according to Spanish outlet Sport, Barca are preparing for further rejection by entering negotiations for two new players.
PSG’s Angel Di Maria is the first. Neymar’s arrival at the Parc de Princes has put the Argentine’s future and playing time at risk, which Barca think could work in their favour.
The second is Nice midfielder Jean Seri, who has a £20 million price tag on his head.
Barcelona may have already signed Paulinho for €40 million, but they need reinforcements and Seri’s energy could add a new dimension to their midfield.
Coutinho and Dembele remain Barca’s top targets, but given the pair could cost as much as £250 million, you can hardly blame them for looking elsewhere.