It appears, in the wake of the loss of Neymar, that the answer to that question may be a big, fat, resounding no.
Philippe Coutinho, for instance, appeared set for the move to Camp Nou, but the most recent reports suggest that no matter how much the Catalans offer, Liverpool won’t sell. Even the most recently revised number of €120m won’t do.
Multiple outlets have reported that Barca appears to have approached Coutinho’s people directly, attempting to make a work-around deal to force Liverpool’s hand—but it looks more and more likely to be a failed attempt nonetheless.
Barca’s move for highly-rated Real Sociedad defender Iñigo Martínez seems to have similarly stalled out, courtesy of Barca’s seeming refusal to pay more than €25m, even though Martinez’s buyout fee is currently set at €32m.
The Catalans are still pursuing Ousmane Dembélé as well, but it appears as though they won’t get their man there, either, not without ponying up significantly more cash than they appear willing. The Blaugrana have made their first offer to Dortmund (€70m, plus bonuses, seems to be the consensus), but as The Guardian and others report, the current price Dortmund is asking is quite a bit more: €150m. The Dembélé situation is further complicated by a sell-on clause in his contract, meaning his former club Rennes would be due up to €30m were Dortmund to receive a transfer fee.
There’s additionally the earlier Barca failure to sign Marco Verratti, but the Italian midfielder chose to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, where reports note he will sign a new contract worth €12m-per-year.
Instead, the best Barca’s been able to do thus far this transfer season might be the addition of Jean Michaël Seri, having agreed to pay the 25-year-old’s €40m transfer fee to Nice. Seri will not join the club, however, until after Nice faces Napoli next week.
While there may not be much in the way of consolation at the moment for Barca, there is at least this: rivals Real Madrid, long rumored to be among the favorites in the Kylian Mbappe sweepstakes, cannot seem to finalize the deal, and may well lose Gareth Bale for their troubles. (Of course, if they do end up signing Mbappe, all will be forgiven—but that seems more and more like an ‘if’ rather than the typical ‘when’ when it comes to Real Madrid.)
It’s long been the case that the Madridistas have set the transfer market, being a regular among the clubs setting new transfer fee records. When either Madrid or Barcelona seriously pursue a player, they find success more often than not—but not so this summer.
In a summer where it seems Barca just continues to lose their transfer battles, wouldn’t it be fitting if Zidane’s squad fared just as poorly? Of course, Real don’t have a Neymar-shaped hole in their team, which could’ve made things worse.