Barça ramp up market pressure with Paulinho, Dembélé, Coutinho
Barcelona are eager to splash the cash following Neymar’s record-breaking move to Paris Saint-Germain and are making an all-out attempt to add three big-money signings to Ernesto Valverde’s squad.
Far from being put off by Liverpool’s reluctance to seel Philippe Coutinho and Dortmund’s rejection of an opening bid for Ousmane Dembélé, the Camp Nou board are preparing to do everything it takes to push through all three transfers before the window closes.
The arrival of Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande seems to be the closest to reaching fruition, with reports that the Brazil international has travelled to Barcelona to complete a 40-million-euro move from the Chinese Super League side and could be officially unveiled as early as Monday.
Dembélé suspension extended by Dortmund
The cases of Coutinho and Dembélé are somewhat more complex but the pressure being applied by both on their clubs appears to be wearing down resistance to Barça’s overtures. The Dortmund forward failed to appear at training on Thursday and the Bundesliga club had no hesitation in suspending the 20-year-old. That suspension was due to last until after the side’s German Cup match against Rielasingen-Arlen on Saturday, but a day later it was confirmed that Dembélé would remain on the naughty step indefinitely.
“Our focus now is to have a concentrated preparation for the start of the Bundesliga," Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc said in a statement. "Obviously Ousmane Dembélé has the opportunity to do individual training separate from the team."
Dortmund are holding out for in the region of 150 million euros for the highly rated France international and Barça are thought to be preparing a second bid.
Klopp on Coutinho: "I have to accept bosses' decision"
Coutinho, meanwhile, was said last week to have handed in a transfer request, but this was denied by the club and Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp. Speaking after his side’s opening day draw against Watford, the German tactician admitted that Coutinho’s future is out of his hands and that he will “accept the decision that my bosses make.”