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Koeman: Memphis Depay? Barca must sell before buying

By Sacha Pisani

Barcelona, September 16: Ronald Koeman said Barcelona must sell before they can think about signing Lyon captain Memphis Depay as the head coach expects to start the LaLiga season with no additions to the squad.

Depay has been tipped to reunite with former Netherlands coach Koeman at Barca following his exploits for Ligue 1 outfit and Champions League semi-finalists Lyon.

However, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas – prior to Tuesday's 2-1 loss against Montpellier – claimed Barca cannot afford to buy Depay due to their finances amid the coronavirus crisis.

Koeman, who has replaced Quique Setien at Camp Nou, was asked about former Manchester United forward Depay amid talk of a €25million transfer and he told Fox Sports Netherlands: "For Depay to arrive, you must first sell."

Barca have been linked with a number of players following a miserable 2019-20 campaign, which saw the Spanish powerhouse dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid in La Liga and embarrassed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

After receiving Miralem Pjanic in a swap deal that sent Arthur to Serie A champions Juventus, Barca continue to be linked with Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has emerged as a possible target for Barca, while former star Thiago Alcantara has also been linked with a move from Bayern.

However, Koeman said: "We're working towards the new season and I think we will go into it with the same group of players that we have now for pre-season."

Barca will open their 2020-21 La Liga campaign at home to Unai Emery's Villarreal on September 26.

Lionel Messi is set to take to the field for Barca following a turbulent off-season, which saw the superstar captain try to leave the club.

Linked to Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus, six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi decided to stay after handing in a transfer request amid frustration with Barca's board.

Asked about the situation involving Messi, former Barca defender Koeman added: "That has passed me reasonably well. That was mainly a conflict between Messi and the club.

"I have spoken to Messi since then and we will continue as usual."

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Story first published: Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 9:04 [IST]
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