With some January acquisitions, Ronald Koeman is keen to improve his options at Barcelona, but he admits the financial condition of the club may make it too difficult.
Last week, Philippe Coutinho was on Barca’s long-term injury list with Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Gerard Pique, while Carles Alena was allowed to leave for Getafe on loan until the end of the season.
Koeman has already expressed his desire to add a striker to his ranks, with the club having left without signing a replacement for Luis Suarez in the close season, and they continue to be linked to Memphis Depay.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has struck Barca’s finances hard, so much so that they have postponed the biannual payment of salaries owed to players in January.
As a consequence, Koeman acknowledges that it might not be possible for Barca to satisfy his ambition to bring in new faces.
“It is important for our short-term future. We want to improve the squad. I still think some positions need more competition and effectiveness,” Koeman said on 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.”
Alena shouldn’t be the only young player to leave Camp Nou this month, Koeman suggested, although he revealed that 17-year-old midfielder Ilaix Moriba might be in line on Saturday for the first-team premiere against Granada.
“We have asked the players that I think it is more important for them to find a way out so they have minutes, primarily [these proposals have come from] Ramon Planes [club technical secretary] because I am more centered on the games,” the Dutchman said.
It’s the choice of the player once again. I think that for others, without naming names, it is better to pursue the best as a player because of their youth. A young man should not go without playing for a year. As a young player, it’s not good for improving.
We know that we’re missing a player on Alena’s loan, and Ilaix was with us in pre-season. He practices with the first team often. It’s a chance that he’ll be called up for the game tomorrow.
Barca will be at Nuevo Los Carmenes without the suspended Clement Lenglet and Koeman suggested Samuel Umtiti could make his first start of the season in the place of his fellow Frenchman.