Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has admitted he would like to have Paris Saint-Germain striker on his team amid speculation the France international is set to leave the Ligue 1 side and join Real Madrid.
Koeman was asked about Mbappe at a pre-match press conference on Saturday ahead of Barca’s La Liga clash with Getafe and insisted he’s not too worried at the prospect of the 22-year-old joining his club’s biggest rivals, as reported by Diario AS.
“I’m not worried, if they have the money to sign they can do it and he’s one of the best players in the world. Of course I would also want him in my team,” he said. “Everyone tries to improve their squad and if you can do it by signing these kinds of players then great.”
Real Madrid have made a second offer of up to €180 million ($212m) for Mbappe who is out of contract next summer, according to The Athletic’s Adam Crafton and David Ornstein. PSG sporting director Leonardo has already confirmed Mbappe wants to leave the French side.
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Koeman Talks Transfer Frustrations
The prospect of Mbappe moving to Real Madrid is likely to add to Barcelona’s frustrations after a difficult transfer market. The club’s difficult financial situation has meant the club had been unable to make any big-name buys and also could not keep Lionel Messi at the club.
Barca has also so far struggled to offload unwanted players such as Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic and required Gerard Pique to agree a pay cut in order to register new signings Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.
Koeman admitted it’s been a difficult summer for the Catalan giants but is confident the club can build a successful team at the Camp Nou, as reported by Diario Sport.
“For everyone that wants the best for the club, it’s frustrating, I understand it. On the other hand, we have to be realistic. Economically, the club can’t compete with other clubs, with Paris, City, United … that’s how it is right now. We have to accept it,” he said. “We aspire to win everything and we have to have a winning mentality, but we cannot hope to be the best in the world. We’ve lost the best player in the world and we have to be realistic. You can’t demand the same because the team is different. We are constructing an exciting team for the future, but we need patience. Pedri aged 24 is not the same as Pedri at 18. Or Nico or the rest. We’re building something, but we need time.”
Koeman Unhappy With Squad Size
Barcelona’s inability to offload players this summer also means Koeman has a huge squad to work with currently. The Dutchman still has Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele, Sergio Aguero, and Gerard Pique out injured at the moment but has been able to welcome Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Oscar Mingueza back for Saturday’s match against Getafe.
Koeman added that it’s difficult working with such a big squad and is not a good situation for him or his players, as reported by Diario Sport.
“Everyone knows perfectly well who we count on in this squad and who will have a hard time playing games. For some players, it’s very complicated and it’s not good for them or for us,” he explained. “If we have all our players back, we are going to have 31, 32 players … it’s impossible to work with that many. How can a coach manage 32 players? I’ve done all my coaching courses but not with 32 players!”
The Barcelona boss has named a 23-man squad for Sunday’s match with Getafe. Umtiti and Pjanic have been included for the first time this season, while youngsters Gavi, Yusuf Demir, and Nico Gonzalez have also been called up.