Ronald Koeman admits he still does not know if Luis Suarez will still be a Barcelona player at the end of the transfer window, but has offered an olive branch to the forward if he does choose to remain at the Camp Nou.
The Barca boss also appears to have put an end to transfer speculation regarding Philippe Coutinho as he praised the Brazilian’s commitment in training and on the field and described him as ‘very motivated’ at the club.
Suarez had appeared close to moving to Juventus after agreeing terms with the Serie A side, but complications have arisen and now a deal seems unlikely.
Reports suggest that the Uruguayan was looking to get an Italian passport through his wife, so that Juve would not be over their limit of non-EU players, but there is no guarantee he will achieve this by the end of the transfer window.
Juventus are now backing away from a deal, as are other interested parties because of his huge wade demands.
Although Suarez has already been told he is surplus to requirements at Barcelona, Koeman is ready to welcome him back into the fold, should he fail to secure an exit this summer and as he heads into the final year of his contract.
‘I’ve spoken to him about his future and we are waiting to see whether or not he leaves, we still don’t know,’ Koeman told Catalan station TV3 on Wednesday night.
‘But we respect every contract here and if in the end he does not find a club and he stays, he will be just like any other player in the squad.’
Koeman was speaking after a 3-1 win over Girona in a pre-season friendly in which Lionel Messi scored twice and Coutinho netted the opening goal, Suarez was not involved in the match.
Coutinho has been heavily linked with a move back to the Premier League this summer, but Koeman looks set to make him a key figure in Barcelona again after his loan spell at Bayern Munich.
‘He is very motivated right now, he is training well and playing well,’ Koeman said of the former Liverpool man.
Koeman tweeted pictures from the win over Girona, featuring Coutinho and Messi, although he didn’t look thrilled in them.
The former Southampton boss also had praise for young American talent Konrad De La Fuente, who he picked out as one of the standout performers after he replaced Coutinho in the second half.
‘If I had to highlight one of the youngsters, I would say Konrad, I am really happy with him,’ said the boss.