Barcelona keep on being linked with Lautaro Martinez but have been told by Inter they do not want to negotiate. However, the Serie A club are looking for a replacement, perhaps because they fear the striker may try to force a move to Camp Nou in the future.
Barcelona head to Atletico Madrid on Sunday and have a poor record away from home. Their three defeats this season have all come on their travels and means they have only managed 10 points from a possible 21 away from the Camp Nou season.
Peñarol vice president, Rodolfo Catino, says Barcelona were one of several clubs interested in Fede Valverde before he joined Real Madrid but weren’t willing to pay the asking price. He said: “[Manchester] United and Barça also saw him. United withdrew quickly and Barcelona did not want to pay the asking price, they did not get near our valuation. They lost out on a great player for not making that financial effort.”
Philippe Coutinho will be given time to prove himself at Bayern Munich under new manager Hansi Flick. The 54-year-old has replaced Niko Kovac at the Allianz Arena and has backed the Brazilian: “We’re well aware of the quality he has. Sometimes it’s really useful when you give someone a bit of time. He wasn’t able to take part in full pre-season training and when he joined us he hadn’t done a lot of training. He just needs to be given time.”
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has praised Lionel Messi again as the club celebrated its 120th birthday on Friday. He said: “Without a doubt Leo Messi is the best player in football history, he has made a huge mark on the world of football. There is no club in the world that has had as much success as Barca, with a player that has won six Golden Boots or has five Ballon d’Or awards. It has helped us to be more global and, compared to other times, has created a very strong era and we will be transformed by this era of the team and Messi.”
Koke has been talking about Antoine Griezmann ahead of Sunday’s match against Barcelona at the Wanda Metropolitano. He said: “Antoine gave everything for us during five years and we are very grateful. Now he’s a rival, we’re playing against Barcelona, not against Griezmann and we are going to do everything we can to make sure our people go home happy.”
Ousmane Dembele has been ruled out for 10 weeks with injury which could mean more first-team chances for Carles Perez and Ansu Fati. Perez has not featured since the win over Levante at the start of November, while Ansu featured as a substitute against Leganes and Celta Vigo.