Coach Xavi Hernandez has confirmed he still wants Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva, although he conceded a deal is looking increasingly unlikely, while the Catalan club are also targeting a new right-back.
“You can never lose hope,” Xavi said in a news conference on Saturday when asked if he had given up on the arrival of Silva this month.
“But, honestly, it is going to be difficult. It is not an easy situation. There must be exits on our part. It’s really difficult, really difficult.”
City coach Pep Guardiola said earlier in the week that Silva “really likes Barcelona,” leaving the door ajar to a move, but the cost of the transfer, Barcelona’s financial problems and City needing to find a replacement before the window closes on Thursday, make a deal improbable.
Barcelona are also working on strengthening their full-back positions, with Xavi confirming a new right-back is a priority as he once again made it clear he no longer counts on United States international Sergino Dest.
“We don’t have a natural option on the right beyond Dest, who knows what his situation is,” Xavi said.
“We will see how things pan out, but the club’s intention is to strengthen at right-back.”
However, the emergence of Alejandro Balde, an 18-year-old academy graduate, has reduced Barcelona’s desire to also sign a left-back.
Aubameyang is the most likely of the four to depart first, with negotiations ongoing with Chelsea, but Xavi says he is also prepared for the former Arsenal striker to stay.
The Blaugrana were able to register fellow new signings Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen before the campaign started, but their LaLiga-imposed spending cap did now allow for them to inscribe Kounde as well.
“We are convinced Jules can now be registered and can take part,” Xavi said.