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Barcelona general manager Pep Segura has dismissed speculation linking the club with a move for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and has said they are not looking to sell Ousmane Dembele.
Segura was speaking about both players to Cadena Ser (h/t Mundo Deportivo via Football Espana), and amid recent speculation surrounding Neymar’s future and a possible return to the Blaugrana, he said they won’t be looking to bring the Brazilian back for a second spell.
“Neymar is a player who is not on the table at the moment,” said Segura. “I have already said that no young player that leaves for money will return. We stand by that. But the circumstances with Neymar are totally different. We always must evaluate the circumstances of the market and assess what the best moves for us will be in relation to those.”
Amid recent buzz about Dembele’s attitude at the Camp Nou, there have also been rumours about his future and Barcelona potentially losing patience with the young Frenchman, who was drafted in by the club following the world-record sale of Neymar in 2017.
However, Segura said in the same interview that while the 21-year-old is still adapting to life at the Camp Nou, they have faith he will come good:
“He has a lot of talent and is trying to adapt to a very big club, where he has many great players to compete with and teammates who will try to help him. He never has gone through something like this before and he has to be patient for the adaption to happen, as does everyone.
“We all recognise the situation, including the player, and we are all working to ensure the adaptation is in the best possible way and as quickly as possible. I do not know where the English press get their information, but we have had no offers and we have no desire to change that situation.”
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When asked by Cadena Ser about links to Liverpool in particular, Segura said “if you have information about Liverpool, ask Liverpool,” per Chris Burton of Goal.
Rafael Hernandez of Barcelona fansite Grup14.com thinks the club are concerned about Dembele’s recent conduct:
Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117
Barça are in damage control mode, trying to salvage their massive investment on Dembélé and avoiding to lower his market value if the club decided to sell, which has already been lowered.
It was reported by RAC1 (h/t Sport) that Dembele did not report for training on time last Thursday and the club spent 90 minutes trying to locate him. They eventually sent club doctors out to assess his condition, and he was deemed to have gastroenteritis.
Dembele was then left out of the squad for the clash with Real Betis in La Liga on Sunday. Since then, his national team manager Didier Deschamps has said the winger has a “habit” of being late and is prone to “excuses,” per Marca.
Neymar has thrived for PSG since arriving last summer and will be hoping to build on the domestic treble the team won in 2017-18. This season, he’s already netted 13 times for the Parisians, who have won a record 13 games in succession to start the Ligue 1 term.