Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde wants more signings before the transfer window closes in order to make his team “better and more competitive”.
The Catalans made it two wins from two in LaLiga on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves, with Lionel Messi scoring twice after the break having missed a first-half penalty.
The win, in which Paulinho made his debut in the closing minutes, capped a positive week for Barca that saw them confirm the club-record signing of Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for an initial fee of €105million.
Barca continue to be linked with a final attempt to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool and are also reportedly interested in Chelsea’s Willian, as they look to invest the €220m earned from Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain straight back into the squad.
And despite the arrival of France international Dembele, Valverde is open to one last recruitment drive during the final week of the window.
“We hope to have a better team on the 31st,” he told Barca TV. “We hope that, when the last day of the market comes, we have a better and more competitive team. That’s clear.”
Alaves produced a spirited performance at Mendizorroza and only fell behind when Messi’s low shot was deflected beyond goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco, before the Argentina star scored his 351st goal in the top flight after Paco Alcacer blocked Alexis Ruano’s clearance.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 26, 2017
It was an encouraging display from the 30-year-old amid speculation that he is unsure about signing the new contract he agreed with the club last month.
Valverde was proud of the way his players fought for their victory and believes they have proved to be unaffected by reports of the squad becoming unsettled in the wake of their 5-1 aggregate loss to Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana.
“It was a very tricky game, difficult because they closed the game down with very little space,” he said. “They sat very deep and it was difficult to find spaces.
“We had to be very patient. It was also hot, but we were able to get things right.
“Leo had chances to score more goals, he had the bad luck of missing the penalty. We’re at a point where Barca are spoken about a lot and it seems like that can have an effect, and the team showed that that isn’t the case.
“We’ve gone through difficult moments and we’ve overcome them. We have six points and we go on.”
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