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Spanish Press Slam Barcelona’s Summer Transfer Activity

Barcelona have been savaged by the Spanish press for their failure to sign either Philippe Coutinho or Angel Di Maria on the final day of the summer transfer window.

Officials at the Nou Camp have been chasing a deal for the Liverpool playmaker ever since Neymar departed for Paris Saint-Germain while Di Maria was seen as an alternative to Coutinho should they fail.

But routes to both players were blocked by their respective clubs on deadline day, leaving the Barcelona board at the mercy of Catalan newspapers Sport and Mundo Deportivo, while Madrid’s AS also picked up on their shortcomings.

Mundo Deportivo claimed the biggest scoop of the day, saying talks for Coutinho broke down after Liverpool demanded an incredible €160m (£146.5m) and also wanted him loaned back until January.

Baulking at the price, Barcelona turned to PSG in the hope of signing former Real Madrid star Di Maria but were unwilling to meet the €80m (£73m) price set by the club that coaxed Neymar away.

Sport have gone with the headline ‘Cero Fichajes’, translating to ‘Zero Transfers’ set on a black background, symbolising the sombre mood that hangs over the Nou Camp as the new season starts in earnest.

There are also questions raised over the decision to allow Munir El Haddadi to leave the club as he sealed a season-long loan deal to Alaves without an option to make the move permanent.

Although falling short of the huge expectation that hung over him from an early age, his departure leaves Ernesto Valverde with even fewer options in attack.

The dealings inspired former Barcelona presidential candidate Agusti Benedito to call for Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign his post with immediate effect and issue a vote of no confidence to the entire board.

‘This board has done a staggeringly bad job,’ he said as he left a meeting.

‘Bartomeu should resign, he is out of control. We are facing a really important institutional crisis and must act.’