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Barcelona dig themselves into a deeper hole

With the transfer window closing on Friday, Barcelona held a press conference on Saturday summarizing their transfer dealings.

To no one’s surprise, it went rather poorly.

After Pep Segura’s claim that Coutinho was close, one of the first questions involved the Brazilian. Their response left many shaking their heads.

Barcelona claimed that Liverpool wanted €2oo million for the Brazilian. Once the press conference was over, it did not take long for Liverpool to deny those claims.

The Daily Telegraph’s, Chris Bascombe, posted the following:

Liverpool’s stance on Coutinho never changed. He was not for sale and were not going to negotiate. The Catalan side’s persistence were not going to make Liverpool change their mind.

Another surprise was that the club apparently paid more for Paulinho than they had led on.

Albert Soler let it slip out that Paulinho actually cost €40 million plus variables. If his release clause was valued at €40 million, why would they need to pay anything extra in variables? Soler did correct himself later on and said they only paid the release clause. At this point, no one is going to believe anything that comes out of this board’s mouth.

If things weren’t bad enough for Soler, he let a bit of a freudian slip for good measure.

This brings us to the elephant in the room: Messi’s contract.

Despite Bartomeu claiming that Messi’s deal was done, the player has yet to sign his new contract. During the press conference they once again insisted that Messi’s new deal was done claiming it was only protocol and a matter of time until he signed. Their claim was quickly called into question hours later as rumors surfaced that Messi was not planning to sign a new contract until the end of the season.

Based on the report, it’s clear that Messi wants to wait it out and see how the team performs this season. Realistically, he only has a few more years left at the top level and he wants to finish out his European career somewhere at a stable club with an ambitious sporting project. With the way the board has conducted business these past few months, Barcelona is becoming less and less appealing.

What is sure to upset Barcelona fans is sporting director’s, Robert Fernandez, assessment of the current squad alongside the failed signings of Seri and Iñigo Martinez.

Anyone looking at Barcelona’s squad can tell there are holes. They needed someone in midfield and another center-back. Iniesta and Mascherano are getting older and Vermaelen cannot be trusted to stay fit.

Neither of these players were going to break the bank as they had reasonable, as far as the market goes, release clauses.

How can Robert say that by looking at the squad, it was best not to sign them?

This contradicts the wishes of the manager, Ernesto Valverde, who asked for reinforcements if they were to meet the demands made by the board.

Overall, the press conference did nothing to appease fans who were already critical of the board. Instead, it had the opposite effect.

They cannot claim that they did not want to contribute to the inflated market when they spent close to €150 million on Dembele and €40 million on Paulinho. They had plenty of time to outline their plans once Neymar was sold but the club came across as completely disorganised throughout the transfer window.

Instead of identifying players that suit the style of the team, it seemed that all they were focused on was signing a big-name player. The borderline obsession with Coutinho, a player who they were told countless times was not for sale, leave Barcelona with deficiencies in their squad.

What’s worse is that in an inflated market, Barcelona were still unable to offload players like Andre Gomes and Arda Turan.

We’ve already mentioned the internal rift between the squad and the board.  The calamity caused by Bartomeu and his board are sure to cause further distance.

The incompetence and blaming of other clubs instead of realising their own faults has become a trend with those in charge of running Barcelona.

With Agusti Benedito currently gathering signatures for a vote of censure, Bartomeu’s time at the helm could be coming to an end.

It would be a welcome sight to many Barcelona fans.

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