Barcelona Transfer News: Latest on Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele Rumours

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 29:  Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool FC looks on during the Preseason Friendly match between Hertha BSC and FC Liverpool at Olympiastadion on July 29, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.  (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)
Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Barcelona are nearing deals for both Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele, according to club general manager Pep Segura.

Segura spoke to RAC1 (h/t Goal) following the Catalan giants' 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday and said: "Coutinho and Dembele are both close. We are hopeful that they will end up wearing the Barca shirt."

He added to TV3: "Until deals are closed I can't say anything. We know we have to help the team and reinforce it and that's what we are doing."

Guillem Balague of Sky Sports noted Segura was trying to say Barcelona want and are negotiating for both players but knows Liverpool are not selling Coutinho at the moment.

Barca's defeat in El Clasico, which handed Real a 5-1 aggregate win in the Spanish Super Cup, was a timely reminder of the dire need to inject some quality into their squad following Neymar's €222 million (£200 million) departure to Paris Saint-Germain, as noted by football writer Clark Whitney:

Football journalist Rafael Hernandez believes Barca have bigger priorities than Coutinho and Dembele, though:

While a long-term replacement for Xavi Hernandez is still needed, a player of the required quality could be extremely difficult to recruit this summer, but the pair would add strength and depth to Barca's side.

Dembele would make for a superb candidate to step into Neymar's boots in the front three, while Coutinho can provide cover there or bridge the gap between the forwards and the midfield in a deeper role.

Squawka Football shared some of the former's numbers last season to show why he would be a good addition at the Camp Nou:

At just 20, the Frenchman is already putting in top-class performances and has the potential to get even better in the coming years.

Coutinho could perhaps still stand to add an element of consistency to his game, but he would also be a strong buy thanks to his vision, creativity and goal threat from distance.

The pair are key players for their respective clubs, though, so prising both of them away will be a monumental task.