Barcelona have admitted they face an uphill battle to lure Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool this summer.
The La Liga giants have so far had two bids rejected – the second of which was for £90million – and there are rumours abound that they are planning a third bid of around £100million in a bid to convince Liverpool to sell.
But with Jurgen Klopp very publicly admitting they have no desire to sell their talisman, Barcelona have confessed for the first time that luring the Brazilian to the Nou Camp is proving tricky and a deal is by no means a guarantee.
Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez admitted: “It’s a very difficult situation.
“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.
“Yes, we are negotiating with clubs to make several signings, but in all awareness of the difficulty. We need to work our way into a favourable situation and hopefully close these deals as quickly as possible.
“[Ousmane] 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.
“We still have days ahead of us, would like to move things faster, but do admit they are 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.”
The change in stance from Barcelona is completely different to what Barcelona general manager Pep Segura had said the day before when he was quoted as saying a deal was “close”.
Klopp on Thursday insisted Coutinho’s absence from training is down to a back injury only and the German has reiterated the club’s stance that they don’t want to lose the player this summer.
“[Philippe] Coutinho still hasn’t trained, he’s still injured,” Klopp said, referring to the back problem that hasn’t sounded particularly convincing.
“There is nothing to say from my side. We have already said what we have to say. There is nothing new.
“I have nothing to say about his attitude. He has a back injury. Medical department have no complaints.”