Barcelona Transfer News: Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele Blow Dealt

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

FILE - In this Saturday, July 22, 2017 file photo, Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho celebrates after scoring a goal during the final match against Leicester City FC at the Premier League Asia Trophy soccer tournament in Hong Kong. Liverpool’s American owners say Philippe Coutinho will not be sold in this transfer window, amid interest in the Brazil playmaker from Barcelona. In a short statement on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, Fenway Sports Group say Liverpool’s “definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered.” (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, file)
Kin Cheung/Associated Press

Barcelona have admitted it will be difficult to sign Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho because the Brazilian's contract does not contain a release clause.

The Blaugrana have bemoaned the tough conditions in this summer's transfer market as they also try to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele.

Barca sporting director Robert Fernandez described the difficulties involved in negotiating both deals, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo:

"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."

Fernandez confirmed Barca remain steadfast in their attempts to sign new players. The five-time UEFA Champions League winners are looking to spend the near-£200 million raised by the sale of Brazil international Neymar to mega-rich Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Barcelona want to reinvest the money accrued from selling Neymar.
Barcelona want to reinvest the money accrued from selling Neymar.Kamil Zihnioglu/Associated Press

Coutinho and Dembele are prime targets, but Fernandez called for caution among those expecting a quick resolution to both potential deals:

"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."

The note of caution from Fernandez comes after Barca general manager Pep Segura said a deal for Coutinho was imminent, per Pearce.

A deal for Coutinho is proving difficult for Barca.
A deal for Coutinho is proving difficult for Barca.Victor Fraile/Getty Images

Whatever stage the deals are at, it's clear the Blaugrana need new recruits. The club is still reeling from consecutive defeats to archrivals Real Madrid over two legs in the Spanish Super Cup.

Coutinho would be a useful addition thanks to his vision, technique and flair from the middle. Fernandez will hope to pair him with another Brazilian midfielder, Paulinho, the former Tottenham Hotspur flop who has joined Barca from the Chinese Super League at a cost of €40 million, per BBC Sport.

As for Dembele, he would make a natural replacement for Neymar, since the 20-year-old France international thrives out wide, offering goals and assists from the flanks.

Both Dembele and Coutinho appear open to moving to the Camp Nou. The former was suspended by Bundesliga side Dortmund after being absent without cause from training as speculation of a move to Barca intensified, per a club statement (h/t Goal's Tom Webber).

Dembele has been suspended by Dortmund as transfer speculation mounts.
Dembele has been suspended by Dortmund as transfer speculation mounts.TF-Images/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Coutinho handed in a transfer request a day before Liverpool's Premier League opener against Watford last weekend.

Barcelona could get both of these deals over the line, but Fernandez is preparing fans to exercise patience before either happens.