FC Barcelona President addresses Neymar rumours and Ousmane Dembele and Phillipe Coutinho future
Posted: 6 February 2019 Time: 18:00
The President of FC Barcelona has issued a blunt statement over the future of €255 million (R3.9bn) attacking duo Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, who arrived after the world-record exit of Neymar Jr.
Neymar left Barca in August 2017 after four seasons with the LaLiga giants in a surprise deal as Paris Saint-Germain activated his €222m (R3,4bn) release clause.
Having formed part of the devastating attacking 'MSN' trio alongside captain Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, the exit of the Brazil international caught everyone associated to the club off guard.
Dembele subsequently arrived in the same transfer window in a then club-record €120m (R1.85bn) switch from Borussia Dortmund, which many considered as a panic buy, despite rated as one of Europe's brightest prospects.
Coutinho followed in the January transfer window from Liverpool in a €135m (R2.1bn) switch that eclipsed the Frenchman's record arrival, but neither player has been able to replicate the influence of the PSG superstar as of yet.
Reports in Spain has suggested that Barca have been looking to offload the latter, due to Neymar's alleged wishes to return to the Camp Nou but Josep Maria Bartomeu has vehemently denied the notion.
"Neymar has never told me that he wants to return to Barcelona, neither he nor his father have called me," he told El Partidazo of COPE.
"We made a decision to sign Coutinho and Dembele, they are younger and we are happy."
The Blaugrana are in action tonight in the Copa del Rey first leg semi-final tie against Real Madrid.