Barca chief admits ‘difficult situation’ over Coutinho & Dembele

Barcelona are in “a very difficult situation” as they attempt to secure deals for Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, according to sporting director Robert Fernandez.

The Catalan giants completed the signing of Paulinho on Thursday but are keen to add Coutinho and Dembele to a forward line depleted by Neymar’s world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and a knee injury suffered by Luis Suarez in Wednesday’s Spanish Supercopa defeat to Real Madrid.

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Suarez will be out for four to five weeks despite finishing the contest at the Santiago Bernabeu, after which Barca general manager Pep Segura claimed deals for Coutinho and Dembele were close. 

That suggestion has been denied by Borussia Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

And, speaking at Paulinho’s introductory media conference, Robert said: “Not just Barca but any team looking for top quality players are getting involved in a very difficult situation in this market.

Philippe Coutinho Liverpool

Ousmane Dembele Borussia Dortmund

“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.

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“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.

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“We still have days ahead of us, would like to move things faster, but do admit they’re two players we would like here. But it’s the clubs who will have the final say on if we finally achieve those two transfers.”

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