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The Catalan club is in a difficult financial situation due to the coronavirus pandemic, but its Dutch coach still hopes to bring in new faces
Ronald Koeman is keen to bolster his options at Barcelona with some additions in January, but acknowledges that the club’s financial situation may make things too difficult.
Philippe Coutinho joined Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Gerard Piqué on Barça’s long-term injured list last week, while Carles Alena was allowed to go on loan to Getafe until the end of the season.
Koeman has already expressed his desire to add a forward to his ranks, with the club having let Luis Suárez leave at the end of the season without signing a replacement, and they remain linked to Memphis Depay.
However, Barça’s finances have been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, so much so that they have delayed the semi-annual payment of the salary that players must pay in January.
Consequently, Koeman accepts that Barça may not be able to fulfill his wish to bring in new faces.
“It’s important for our short-term future. We want to improve the team. I still think that some positions need more competition and effectiveness,” Koeman said Friday.
“But I understand the situation of the club. If it is not possible, it is not possible, and we will wait for the next window.”
Koeman suggested that Alena may not be the only young player leaving the Camp Nou this month, although she revealed that 17-year-old midfielder Ilaix Moriba could be in line to make her first-team debut against Granada on Saturday.
“We have told the players that I think it is better that they find a way out so that they have minutes, predominantly [these suggestions have come from] Ramon Planes [club technical secretary] because I’m more focused on the games, ”said the Dutchman.
“Once again it is the player’s decision. I think that for some, not to mention names, because of their youth it is best to seek the best as a player. A young man cannot go a year without playing. It is not good to improve as a young player.
“We know that with the loan of Alena we are missing a player, and Ilaix was with us in preseason. Sometimes he trains with the first team. There is the possibility that he will be called up for tomorrow’s game.”
Barça will not have the suspended Clement Lenglet in Nuevo Los Cármenes and Koeman indicated that Samuel Umtiti could make his first outing of the season in place of his French compatriot.
“He’s been out for a long time and he’s recovered from his injury. It’s a long way for him to be like he was before,” Koeman said.
“He had a few minutes and we have a decision to make. Without Lenglet, he and [Oscar] Mingueza can comply. Today we will make a decision after training. “
After their meeting with Granada, Barça will play the Spanish Super Cup and the King’s Cup.
In this last competition they faced the Catalan team Cornella, who on Wednesday notably eliminated Atlético de Madrid, leaders of La Liga.
“It doesn’t surprise me. There are surprises like this in every country,” Koeman said of Atleti’s loss.
“It can be a difficult game. They deserved to beat Atlético, who played with a strong team. If it’s not your day, an inferior team with motivation and dedication can complicate things.
“It’s a nice tie because we don’t have to travel, but we have to adapt to the artificial field. But there are other games in which we have to have maximum attention first.”