Barcelona expect Paris Saint-Germain to hit back by targeting their stars after seemingly losing out in the race for Frenkie de Jong.
There is real satisfaction at the Camp Nou as Barcelona close in on the summer signing of Ajax and Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong. After two years of negotiations over a player they have long been tracking (Barça also tried to take him to LaLiga last summer), the 21-year-old looks to have finally opted to choose the Catalans over Paris Saint-Germain.
Barcelona expect PSG to go after stars after losing De Jong race
But Barça's delight is tempered by concern: the club are all too aware of PSG's capacity to cause a transfer-market splash, and sources at the Spanish champions have acknowledged to this newspaper that they are bracing themselves for the Parisians to hit back by targeting their stars.
Ousmane Dembélé (who has a 400m-euro release clause), Philippe Coutinho (400m), Sergio Busquets (500m), Samuel Umtiti (500m) and Marc-André ter Stegen (180m) are just some of the names that Barça feel could be under threat. Lionel Messi's buy-out figure of 700m all but puts the Argentine out of reach, although the club are not taking even that for granted.
PSG chief Al-Khelaifi "will seek revenge"
Nasser Al-Khelaifi "will seek revenge", AS' sources said. Be it on the pitch - the Champions League exits at the hands of Barcelona still rankle - or in the transfer market, the PSG chairman has a real aversion to losing out to the Blaugrana, particularly their president, Josep María Bartomeu.
"The relationship [between the two clubs] hasn't been good for a while now - in fact, it's pretty much broken down," AS was also told. Barça will do everything in their power to ward off any potential advances for their big names and, if there is a serious attempt to lure anyone to the French capital, they will hold out for the player's release clause in full.