Dutch coach Ronald Koeman has admitted that Barcelona ‘must first sell’ players before securing a deal for Lyon star Memphis Depay, as the Catalan giants continue to work within a significantly restricted budget.
La Blaugrana have already confirmed the signing of Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, while Brazilian Arthur Melo has left Camp Nou and headed in the opposite direction.
Lyon talisman Depay has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona this summer, with a fee of around €25m expected to be enough to land the 26-year-old. But speaking to Fox Sports Netherlands, coach Koeman confessed that a deal for the ex-Manchester United forward will remain impossible until the former La Liga champions offload some of their own superstars from the wage bill.
“For Depay to arrive, you must first sell,” explained the former Everton boss.
Depay has started the new season in imperious form, hitting four goals in his first three matches for OL, who have claimed four points from a possible nine. The Netherlands international endured a frustrating campaign last year, scoring nine times in 13 appearances, before suffering a serious knee injury in December, which looked to have ended his season prematurely.
The winger benefitted from the restructuring of the Champions League however, and he came back to face Manchester City in August, helping Lyon pull off a shock victory over the ex-Premier League champions.
His stock has continued to rise since leaving Man Utd in 2017, and he looked certain to join Barça this summer, following in the footsteps of his former Holland coach. However, la Blaugrana’s precarious financial position means any deal is severely reliant on their ability to ship out the deadwood from the squad, and Depay will have to bide his time before joining the Spanish giants.
Until then, Koeman is braced to begin the season with ‘the same group of players’ he is currently organising, meaning he may be prepared to accept a transfer-barren summer.
He added: “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.”