The Barça board got the message from the dressing room on Sunday after the defeat to Real Madrid: the team needs quality signings. Valverde hinted at it (“there will be changed, we want the best team possible and the market is open until 31 August”) and Busquets said it even more clearly (“the team needs signings to refresh”).
The 3-1 defeat has forced the club to accelerate moves for the two main targets: Coutinho, the Brazilian at Liverpool, and Dembélé, from Borussia Dortmund. It is likely that both will sign before the start of the season.
What is not yet known is the price, and it’s an issue that has caused debate among fans as today’s prices were unthinkable just a few years ago. The €222 million received for Neymar though has changed the market and Barça will have to pay around €100 million for each player, plus add-ons. Nevertheless, despite their different profiles, both players have created excitement among the fans.
Countinho will not play in Liverpool’s Champions League qualifier against Hoffenheim due to the injury that also kept him out of Liverpool’s first Premier League game of the season on Saturday. Neither the player nor the club wants to risk an injury that would hold up a deal, despite Jürgen Klopp’s words saying he wants the player to stay.
Dembélé may take slightly longer to arrive. The player is still suspended at Dortmund after missing training and is waiting for news while Dortmund look for a replacement. Barça are determined to push ahead with the signing even though some at the club think the price is too high given he has only played one season at a top European club.
Nevertheless, the club is making an effort to strengthen the squad, particularly in the forward line, to renew the team and to make the fans dream again.