Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman offered his thoughts on stars Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, and Konrad de la Fuente after Wednesday’s 3-1 pre-season friendly win over Girona.
The Dutchman left Suarez out of his squad for the match and offered an update on the Uruguay international’s future amid speculation he will leave before the close of the transfer window on October 5.
“Suárez and I spoke this morning about his future. We’re waiting to see if he stays or not. If he finally stays, he will be one more player in the squad.”
Suarez had been heavily linked with a transfer to Serie A champions Juventus. However, the striker has ruled out the move because he will not be able to gain Italian citizenship in time to play in the Champions League, according to RAC1.
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Koeman Talks Coutinho and Konrad
Koeman handed Philippe Coutinho a start against Girona and saw the Brazilian score his second goal in two games for the Catalan giants. The Brazilian finished off a superb move involving Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi, and Francisco Trincao by tapping into an empty net.
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Coutinho is full of confidence after a successful season on loan at Bayern that saw the 28-year-old win the treble, and Koeman acknowledged he’s in good form ahead of the start of the season.
“He is in high spirits at the moment. He trains and plays well. He has great quality and we must bear in mind that he needs the support of the coach and the fans.”
Koeman also picked out American youngster Konrad for praise. The 19-year-old again impressed after coming off the bench for Barcelona and highlighted once more what he has to offer.
“We know that we have very good young players. The important thing is to participate in training sessions and friendly matches. If I have to highlight a young man I would say Konrad, but Pedri and Riqui also have a great future ahead of them.
Konrad became the first American to play for Barca’s first team when he appeared against Nastic on Saturday, but he’ll be hoping he can go on and make the breakthrough into the first team in 2020-21.
Barcelona Attack Taking Shape
Meanwhile, Koeman’s attack is starting to take shape after two friendlies, and the former Netherlands boss certainly has plenty of options to choose from.
Coutinho has staked a claim with his two goals, while Lionel Messi bagged a double against Girona. New signings Francisco Trincao and Pedri have also offered plenty of promise.
Ousmane Dembele is another player in contention for a starting spot in the new season after scoring after five minutes of his Barcelona return, while Koeman has already said he plans to use Antoine Griezmann in his favored position in 2020-21.