Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has poured cold water on Barcelona’s move for striker Memphis Depay by claiming that the Catalan club cannot afford the Dutchman.
New Barca boss Ronald Koeman is keen to bring his compatriot to the Camp Nou and a deal appeared to be close to sign the former Manchester United man.
Dutch publication De Telegraaf even reported that the move had been agreed, with Barcelona paying £27.5m over two seasons, but Aulas has dismissed this.
The Lyon president responded to the report from the Netherlands by claiming his Barcelona counterpart admitted they didn’t have the cash to fund a move.
‘President [Josep Maria] Bartomeu told me on Sunday that Barca are suffering a lot from the Covid crisis and that it isn’t possible for them to make an offer,’ tweeted Aulas.
This is at odds with what Barcelona technical secretary Ramon Planes said when asked about a move for Depay earlier on Tuesday.
While he attempted to remain coy, Planes admitted a deal for a striker was being sought and that the club have the funds to make a move without selling anyone.
‘We are looking for players with quality and experience, because not any footballer can play for Barca,’ he said. ‘And among them, we are looking for a forward.
‘His arrival is not contingent on the departure of players who are now in the squad. We always aspire to improve the squad.’
‘We’re working towards the new season and I think we will go into it with the same group of players that we have now for pre-season,’ Koeman told Fox Sports Netherlands.
Depay was dropped from the starting line-up for Lyon’s trip to Montpellier on Tuesday night but came off the bench to score in a 2-1 defeat.