Valverde won’t talk about the Coutinho transfer

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Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is focused on the upcoming games and fitness of his players rather than the rumours of his side trying to sign Philippe Coutinho in January

The Brazil international was heavily linked with the Catalan club during last summer, but Barcelona failed to sign him despite reports of them having lodged bids worth more than the initial €105 million Valverde’s side paid for their record signing Ousmane Dembele, GOAL understands.

Now that the winter transfer window is approaching, rumours have surfaced once again on Coutinho’s possible move to Barcelona. However, Valverde refused to confirm these speculations, and said he wants to focus on the present.

“The problem is we’ve been speaking about players for a long time who are not part of the club. There was a lot of talk during the close season,” he told reporters during a press conference.

“Right now, we can’t sign anybody, so let’s concentrate on what we’ve got now. It’s damaging to us to discuss these things when the market is closed. When we get to the market, I probably won’t want to discuss these things, either! At the moment, Coutinho is not one of my players. I want to worry about my players and the game we have [against Celta Vigo on Saturday].”

Meanwhile, their record signing Dembele, who moved to the Catalans from Borussia Dortmund to replace Neymar, has only appeared twice in La Liga before injuring his hamstring.

Barcelona’s head coach claimed this week that the France international will probably won’t be ready for the Clasico on December 23. Valverde said he doesn’t want to rush Dembele’s return, but he could be back soon.

“I’ve been asked this before. He’s making good progress with his recovery. We think he could be back relatively soon but, as I’ve said, we won’t take any unnecessary risks,” the coach explained.