The manager’s plans for the season could have been quite different if two last-minute moves had failed
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has admitted the club’s turbulent business on deadline day was “ab * tch”.
Due to their crushing debt load, the Blaugrana have spent most of their transfer window trying to cut their payrolls.
The cost-cutting exercise continued until the deadline, with Antoine Griezmann leaving the club and Luuk de Jong being brought in at the last minute.
What was said?
With moves for Griezmann and De Jong having been unmasked regarding when the documents were filed, Koeman said Sports: “The aggravation that we had on the last day, with hardly any time to find a solution, it was ab * tch.
“Griezmann had a great deal and if he left it would help improve the club’s financial situation. That’s why I accepted his departure.”
The addition of De Jong, a classic number nine nowhere near the kind of mobile striker Barca would normally sign, appeared to many as a sort of panic move. Koeman, however, insists that’s not the case.
“I had already spoken to [De Jong] at the beginning of August on the possibility of signing it, ”said the Dutchman. “I wanted a different striker than I had and I thought of him because I know him very well.
“In fact, I was wondering how it was possible that Barca never had a striker like Luuk. He’s going to give us something different, especially with his aerial play and set pieces. With him, you can play a more direct style. I’m very happy with his signing. “
Key players have yet to return
Lionel Messi’s loss to PSG has obviously been a blow to Koeman, with the club relying heavily on the Argentinian’s goal exit.
With the onus now on the team to spread the load in terms of goals, however, the head coach will soon be able to call on a handful of attacking players who have been sidelined with injury – something he looks forward to with. impatience.
“I know [Ansu Fati] very good and I know what he can give us, ”Koeman said of Barca’s new No.10. “But we don’t want to rush him, he’s been still for a long time. There is still a lot to do – the same goes for Coutinho.
“I am 100% convinced Coutinho has the talent to be successful at Barca, I like him a lot. The last injury he had a hard time for him and he needs to recover both physically and mentally to come back stronger than ever.
“[Ousmane] Dembele is a very, very good player if he is physically good. He’s excellent one-on-one, has a lot of speed and can play on both wings. He will be vital to us when he recovers and I hope he renews his contract. “