Valverde evasive on Neymar replacement
Following Barcelona’s victory in the Joan Gamper Trophy, coach Ernesto Valverde acknowledged the prospect of activity in the transfer window.
Barca at 19/20 odds to win La Liga
Valverde’s side defeated Chapecoense 5-0 on Monday, and after Neymar’s world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain, additions to fill the void are possible.
The newly hired coach wanted to end discussion on the Brazilian’s transfer, but was vague with respect to a replacement.
“He has been a great player for Barca, but he is no longer here and we have to look forward,” Valverde said.
“I am not interested in looking back. We have to look at the players we have and solve problems that can arise to win matches.
“At the moment, I have some players in the team who are performing well for me. We will see if anything develops. We know that this club, like every other club, moves accordingly to the market. I am focusing mainly on what I have, the rest is up in the air.”
Deulofeu shines in Neymar role
One of those players currently available is Gerard Deulofeu.
The 23-year-old attacker, who returned from Everton this off-season via the club’s buy-back clause, scored and provided two assists in his 45 minutes on the pitch against Chapecoense.
Valverde believes Deulofeu, despite not being fully fit currently, can prove to be a valued member of his squad.
“In Tarragona, he played 20 minutes and in the Gamper, he played in the first half. He has flow, speed and an attitude we can make use of,” Valverde said.
“He left the field early, but I did not want to play him more than 45 minutes because he has not trained a lot, due to injuries.”
Barcelona open their season on Sunday, when they face Real Madrid in Sunday’s first leg of the Supercopa de Espana.