Valverde: Barcelona won't be rushed in left-back hunt

Ernesto Valverde confirmed a new left-back is on Barcelona's wishlist and said the door would remain open for new arrivals until the transfer window closes.

LaLiga champions Barca want to find support for Jordi Alba and are reportedly moving closer to signing Junior Firpo from Real Betis.

Philipp Max of Augsburg is said to be an alternative, while Bayern Munich star David Alaba figured in rumours as a less realistic option.

Neto, Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann have all joined since the end of the 2018-19 season and Barca's business appears unlikely to end there.

"It is true that we had some problems on the left side [of defence] and it is possible that somebody may arrive," head coach Valverde said.

"But we are open to the market until the last day and we will see what happens."

Valverde faced media in Japan ahead of a pre-season friendly against local outfit Vissel Kobe, home to former Barca players Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper.

Gerard Pique will not be involved after feeling discomfort in his thigh in the wake of the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.

"Tomorrow is an opportunity," Valverde said of the match. "There are things that must be improved and adapted. We always have to improve. We will leave out Pique, who has a problem, as a precaution."

There is better news on the fitness front back in Spain, where Luis Suarez has started a personalised pre-season programme.

The striker, who was given an extended break following the Copa America, is scheduled to return to full training alongside his Barcelona team-mates on July 31.

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