It is no secret that Barcelona are in a financial mess and the management is aware that if the club wants to sign players in January, they have to first offload some of the high earners in the first-team. Samuel Umtiti and Philippe Coutinho are at the top of the list of players deemed surplus to requirements by new head coach Xavi Hernandez.
Barcelona are desperate to see the back of the two aforementioned players, but have struggled to generate interest in either of them. Umtiti and Coutinho have been on the transfer list since the summer, but have made it hard for interested clubs to pursue a move owing to their high wage demands.
The Catalan giants' overspending on player wages and transfer fees is what has put them in such a dire situation, and they are struggling to clear the mess. Umtiti is ready to leave, and has garnered interest from clubs in France and Portugal, but the player's wage demands and desire to play at the top level have made reaching an agreement impossible thus far.
It is a similar situation with Coutinho, who is aware that he is not in the manager's plans, but is keen to remain in Barcelona at least until the end of the season before deciding on the next course of action. The Brazilian is among the highest earners at the club, and despite interest from the Saudi-backed Newcastle United, he remains content in playing a minor role at the Camp Nou.
According to Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Barcelona are continuing to work on finding a solution for the duo, but are not holding talks with any clubs at the moment. He denied reports suggesting Benfica were in talks to take the defender to the Portuguese league when the winter transfer window opens in January.
"There are currently no negotiations between Benfica and Barcelona for Samuel Umtiti. His salary is still the main problem - no talks ongoing as of now," Romano wrote. "Barça hope to find a solution for Umtiti and Coutinho in January and they're working on it."
Xavi is keen to bolster his attack during the January transfer window, and even if Barcelona can generate funds to make a signing, they will have to offload players to make room on their wage bill. The likes of Neto, Martin Braithwaite and Luuk de Jong are also players that have been made available for transfer.