Neymar sale inflating Coutinho, Dembele prices - Barca star Pique
Gerard Pique believes Barcelona's pursuit of big-money targets Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele have been held up due to the high prices being demanded following Neymar's sale to Paris Saint-Germain.
Barca were caught off guard by PSG's audacious move for the Brazil superstar and turned their attentions to Borussia Dortmund winger Dembele and Liverpool midfielder Coutinho to replace the superstar forward.
Dembele is widely expected to complete his move to Camp Nou, but a deal for Coutinho is proving troublesome with Liverpool playing hardball over their star playmaker.
Barca centre-back Pique has little doubt both players want to join the LaLiga giants and feels that Barca are struggling to complete deals due to the vast outlay they received for Neymar.
"I think players still want to join Barcelona, and they are showing that as is the case with Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele," Pique told reporters at a PokerStars event in Barcelona.
"One by putting in a transfer request and the other with his actions at Dortmund. It suggests that they are both delighted about the idea of coming; they want to come.
"The problem is, we sold Ney and the clubs know we have the money from that, and the market is the way it is.
"I don't think it's because the players don't want to come, they are keen to come to Barca, but right now to sign whatever player the club wants, it seems to cost more."
Barca's off-field attentions are also occupied by the need to retain star players, with their prized asset Lionel Messi having been linked a lucrative move to Manchester City.
However, Pique is confident his long-time team-mate will not be swayed by a move away.
"I do not worry about anything because I know him. I know how he is and I know he loves Barca more than anyone, so I do not worry that he has not renewed his contract," the Spain international said.
"Let's hope it happens as soon as possible."