Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez admits Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund hold all the cards over their attempts to sign Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele.
Reports in the Catalan press have claimed in recent days Barcelona are confident of wrapping up deals for both players this week ahead of the La Liga opener against Real Betis on Sunday. The club's general manager Pep Segura appeared to add weight to those claims following the club's Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday, commenting the club were close to deals that could see them pay €100m (£91m) apiece for the two players.
Both Liverpool and Dortmund have hit back at those comments, however. Jurgen Klopp insisted at a press conference on Thursday there was "nothing new" regarding Coutinho's future at the club, while Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke insisted Barcelona have "not moved a millimetre closer" to completing a deal for Dembele.
And Fernandez, club secretary at the Nou Camp, appears to have cast more doubt on the deals after admitting the fact neither player has a release clause in their contract is complicating matters.
"Not just Barcelona but any team looking for top quality players are getting involved in a very difficult situation in this market," Fernandez said at the club's unveiling of new midfielder Paulinho, ESPN report.
"Why? Because the market is where clubs like us want to sign top quality players. There's no buyout clauses, so that makes things trickier. Yes, we are negotiating with clubs to make several signings, but in all awareness of the difficulty.
"We need to work our way into a favourable situation and hopefully close these deals as quickly as possible."
Fernandez also confirmed the club are looking to offload a number of players who are not part of Ernesto Valverde's plans this season. Among those is Arda Turan, who was left out of the Barcelona squad for both legs of the Spanish Super Cup with Galatasaray eager to offer him a route back to Turkey.
"We are working on the possibility of players that could leave," Fernandez said. "The players that didn't have numbers on their shirts is because we haven't resolved their situations entirely. No doubts some players are leaving, but also others will be coming in."
Fernandez also echoed comments made by Valverde regarding the future of versatile midfielder Sergi Roberto, insisting the summer arrivals of Nelson Semedo and Paulinho have no bearing on his future at the club.
"We have talked to him and it was a very normal conversation," he said, Marca report. "We want him to do a great job for the team and we want him to do so for many more years."