'Barca close to Coutinho, Dembele deals'

Philippe Coutinho (Getty Images)
Philippe Coutinho (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Barcelona sporting manager Pep Segura has said the club are "close" to signing Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund.

Speaking after Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the second-leg of the Spanish Super Cup gave their arch rivals a 5-1 aggregate victory, Segura said Barcelona were discussing terms with the attacking duo.

"We are close to Coutinho and Dembele, we are discussing their conditions but we do not know when they will be sealed," Segura told Spanish television station TV3.

"We hope they will be Barcelona players this season."

Barcelona, who said on Monday they had agreed a deal to sign Brazilian midfielder Paulinho for €40 million, are looking to fill the void left by Neymar after his world record €222 million transfer to Paris St Germain.

According to reports in British media, Coutinho has submitted a transfer request after Liverpool rejected a second bid worth €100 million from the La Liga club.

Barcelona's other reported target, Dembele, has been suspended by Borussia Dortmund after the 20-year-old France international skipped training amid speculation of a possible move to Spain.

An initial Barca offer was rejected by Dortmund, with club bosses saying it was too low. German media have estimated the price of a move at more than €100 million.

Barcelona are clearly in need of reinforcements after being outclassed in the Super Cup. After losing 3-1 at home on Sunday, Wednesday's 2-0 defeat came at the hands of a Madrid side minus Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Isco.

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