Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has admitted that the La Liga giants may make some additions to the squad during the January transfer window following their unsuccessful summer attempts to lure Phillipe Coutinho from Liverpool. However, the club chief refused to confirm whether they will revive their interest in the Brazilian ace after suggesting that 19-year-old Carles Aleña could be given a chance to cover the critical playmaker role this season.
New manager Ernesto Valverde oversaw a large overhaul over the recent summer to bring four new players in the form of Paulinho, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Deulofeu and Ousmane Dembele.
But Bartomeu suggested that Barcelona could complete the revamp in the January window after they opted against matching the €200m (£183.1m, $237.2m) demands made by Liverpool to cash in on Coutinho.
"Maybe there was the need to bring one more player to complete the squad but we decided not to go ahead with the negotiations [to sign Coutinho] due to the inflation in the market. Now we have to wait a few months until the January transfer window and, if we see that it is necessary [to sign more players], we will make some changes," the Barcelona president said to Mundo Deportivo.
Asked specifically whether the Liverpool ace could move to the Nou Camp in January, Bartomeu replied: "I don't talk about names. We'll see."
Barcelona officials recently revealed that they opted against signing Coutinho on deadline day after Liverpool asked them to pay €200m to complete his signing.
The Merseyside club have since denied that but pressed about it further, the Barcelona president insisted: "It's true, we were asked for €200m."
At the beginning of the summer transfer window it was said that Valverde's top priority was to bolster the middle of the park with a talented playmaker who could dictate the game as Xavi Hernandez used to do before leaving the Nou Camp two summer ago.
Marco Verratti was the club first choice before they began the pursuit of Coutinho but Barcelona eventually were forced to forget about signing any playmaker due to the refusals of PSG and Liverpool to part ways with their stars.
Bartomeu, however, believes that Valverde could turn his attention to Aleña to cover that role after the Under 19 Spanish international was recently handed a new long-term deal.
Asked whether Valverde will be missing a playmaker like Verratti or Coutinho, the Barcelona president replied: "It has been identified that the team already have players of that profile and that there are players from the academy ready for it. An example is Carles Aleña. It has been considered that the best option is to bet on home-grown players due to the [high] prices to bring players from other clubs."