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Barcelona director reveals how Neymar sale stopped them signing key targets

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When Barcelona received €222million for Neymar earlier this summer, the big question was how they were going to replace the Brazilian.

The forward's release clause meant the Blaugrana were powerless to stop him leaving for PSG, but at least they now had plenty of money to reinvest in their squad.

Ousmane Dembele joined for €105m from Borussia Dortmund and it looked as if Philippe Coutinho or Angel Di Maria would join him at the Nou Camp.

However, that didn't happen and aside from the Dembele deal, it's been a highly disappointing first transfer window for new boss Ernesto Valverde.

Off the pitch, it's fair to say the club are in crisis, with a vote of no confidence now being motioned against president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

From an outside perspective, it seems utterly insane not to properly replace Neymar; Dembele undoubtedly has potential to be world-class, but Barca admit they're not expecting him to fill the void straight away.

Of course, it's more complex than that for the officials actually involved in negotiating transfers, as Barca director Albert Soler has been explaining.

If anything, having €222m in the bank and it being such public knowledge made it much more difficult for them to sign who they wanted.

Barca were held to ransom

"The fact that Neymar paid his buyout clause and we had €222m meant everyone knew we had that money," Soler said, quoted via ESPN.

"We have tried to manage it with the sporting needs we had, that's always the priority, but there are lines we can't cross.

"If Robert and I came out here and told you we'd signed two players for €270m, we would have crossed the line of responsibility and then we would have had to resign."

Liverpool have made it clear that Coutinho wasn't for sale at any price, but the Di Maria deal broke down because PSG were demanding too high a fee. What a way to rub salt into the wounds.

Barca's board are now under huge pressure, as if they fail to break Real Madrid's dominance in Spain and in Europe as they did last season, they'll be in even more of a crisis.

Lionel Messi is yet to officially sign his new contract, and having to replace the Argentine on top of Neymar doesn't bear thinking about.

Should Barca have paid whatever it took to sign Di Maria and Coutinho? Have your say in the comments. 

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Barcelona
La Liga

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