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9 Days For Barcelona Board To Salvage Reputation

Tick-tock, tick-tock… nowhere in football is the transfer market clock counting down louder than at Barcelona. And no one is sweating more than Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu and his board of directors.

They have nine days to, in the words of one prominent Spanish radio journalist on Monday night, ‘stop making fools of themselves’, save the club’s summer and save their own jobs.

Lionel Messi still has not signed his new contract. Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele are still at Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund; and the great unwanted: Arda Turan, Rafinha, Munir El Hadaddi, Andre Gomes, Thomas Vermaelen and Sergi Samper are all still at Barcelona with no sign of a new club.

There are no new signings to excite supporters and convince Messi to sign his contract renewal and there is no sign that the player that the manager wants moved on are about to find new homes. Ernesto Valverde has 27 players – too many, and not the ones he wants.

Supporters hope that the clouds of confusion will clear as soon as the Champions League qualifiers are over. Liverpool have not encouraged Barcelona or shown any signs of being willing to allow Philippe Coutinho to leave.

But despite that Barca believe once Liverpool are safely into the Champions League group stage they will be able to properly plan replacement signings and if they receive one more new-improved offer from Barcelona they will accept it.

The last offer on the table, and roundly rejected, was for €90m up-front and €40m in add-ons. The total fee of €130m sounds good but when the ‘add-ons’ are unpacked some of them were so ridiculous – to be paid when the player wins the Ballon d’Or – that the offer was laughed off the table.

If the Coutinho move falls flat then Barcelona will look to sign Jean Michael Seri from Nice. The player has a €40m buy-out clause and once he has played tonight’s Champions League knockout second leg against Napoli negotiations could, in theory, resume and be closed very quickly.

If Barcelona spent €40m on Seri instead of €90m + €30m on Coutinho then they will have the funds to go the extra mile for Dembele. They have made an offer of €100m + €30m in add-ons and Dortmund are close to accepting.

It’s highly unlikely that all three – Dembele, Seri and Coutinho – will all arrive. Or at least not unless there is a sudden change in Barcelona’s ability to sell the players who are surplus to requirements.

Roma have showed an interest in Munir, Juventus, Manchester United and Liverpool have all looked at Gomes, Everton have thought about a pay-as-you-play deal for Vermaelen, Girona are considering Samper and Turan is wanted by Galatasaray. But to date no one has moved.

It may only take one piece of the puzzle to be found for the rest to all fall into place. But as the end of August draws near Barcelona are still scrambling around and far from being helped by that €220m received It’s highly unlikely that all three – Dembele, Seri and Coutinho – will all arrive. Or at least not unless there is a sudden change in Barcelona’s ability to sell the players who are surplus to requirements.

Roma have showed an interest in Munir, Juventus, Manchester United and Liverpool have all looked at Gomes, Everton have thought about a pay-as-you-play deal for Vermaelen, Girona are considering Samper and Turan is wanted by Galatasaray. But to date no one has moved.

It may only take one piece of the puzzle to be found for the rest to all fall into place. But as the end of August draws near Barcelona are still scrambling around and far from being helped by that €220m received

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