Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho is still a transfer target for Barcelona Getty

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde admits that Philippe Coutinho is a great player but he remains coy about the possibility of signing the Liverpool ace when the transfer window reopens in January.

The Catalans tried to sign the Brazilian star during the summer after being identified as a top priority for Valverde.

However, they were forced to abandon the pursuit on deadline day with Liverpool unwilling to negotiate his departure at any price.

Reports in Spain claim that Barcelona will make a new attempt to secure his services in January with Valverde still keen on adding some creativity to his midfield.

On Friday, Sport claimed that the La Liga giants plan to launch an initial offer worth €130m (£114.7m, $155m) to test Liverpool's resolve while the Brazilian international wants €14m a year in wages to complete the transfer – the equivalent of €269,000-a-week (£237,000-a-week).

The Spanish publication claims that Barcelona are ready to make every effort to sign the Reds star ahead of the second-half of the season despite Coutinho being cup-tied for Champions League games.

Questioned whether Coutinho's unavailability to play in the European competition could be a handicap ahead of trying to secure his signing in January, Valverde said: "The problem is that we are speaking about players when currently we can't sign anyone [because the transfer window is closed]. I know that a lot of players are linked during the months prior to the transfer window but right now we can't sign anyone.

"Our reality now is that tomorrow [on Saturday] we have a game [against Celta Vigo] and then there will be another in the Champions League. So [it's not positive] to speak about a player, whether he has a handicap, when the transfer window is not open. Anyway, I won't talk about it either when it opens. We should not waste time on these things and let's concentrate on what we've got now. Coutinho surely is a great player who is on another team but I want to worry about my players."

The report from Sport this week claimed that Barcelona would need to part ways with Arda Turan and two more members of the squad to make space for Coutinho and fulfil their financial regulations regarding the players' salary.

This comes after previous reports from Turkey claimed that Turan recently met with Barcelona general manager Pep Segura to ask the club to facilitate his departure in January.

Aasked whether he has also spoken with Turan about his potential exit ahead of the January window, Valverde said: "No, I have not talked to Arda about it (his departure) or with any other player. We are still in December and there is time for the transfer window."

Turan is yet to play a single game this season and will remain on the sidelines when Barcelona host Celta on Saturday.

The visit of the Galician side will also come too early for Javier Mascherano, Ousmane Dembele and Rafinha Alcantara.

But Valverde provided a positive update on the recoveries of the latter two, suggesting that the France starlet could even be ready to be back for El Clasico at Real Madrid on 23 December.

Dembele was expected to be out of action until January after rupturing the "tendon in his femoral bicep in his left thigh" during the Catalans' 2-1 victory over Getafe on 16 September.

Last week, the Barcelona boss said that he would not risk Dembele in El Clasico even though the Frenchman had previously said that he was going to be back in training two weeks before the clash with Real.

But Valverde was now more positive when pressed whether the former Borussia Dortmund starlet has any chance of featuring against Los Blancos.

"Dembélé's progression is going well. We think he could be back soon but we don't want to take any risks given the amount of time he has been injured," Valverde added. "In theory, we won't have him back until after Christmas but we will see how he goes in the next few days and when he can re-join training with the rest of the squad."

Earlier this week, Rafinha also announced that he was set to start a new "stage" of his recovery from the knee injury which has kept him on the sidelines since April.

And speaking about the Brazilian midfielder, Valverded added: "We think we have to be cautious, at the moment he feels good and he is looking forward to re-joining the group."

Ousmane Dembele
Ousmane Dembele suffered an injury during Barcelona's 2-1 victory over Getafe. Getty