'We had to cover Neymar's departure': Ex-Barca's VP Mestre justifies Dembele's and Coutinho's arrivals
- Barca had plenty of money after selling Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, Mestre notes.
- The club wanted to spend big to compensate for the loss, he explains.
- Both Dembele and Coutinho were 'superstars' when they joined Barcelona, the ex-Barca official concludes.
Speaking on the Sin Concesiones show, former Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre said that the arrival of Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho was a forced measure after Neymar left the club in 2017.
"When Neymar left, we had to cover his departure," Mestre explained.
"The clubs knew we had money and the need to sign someone, that was a problem."
Mestre added that both players were on a different level back then.
"At the time of signing Coutinho and Dembele, they were superstars."
Philippe Coutinho arrived at Camp Nou in January 2018. Despite an impressive start to his Barcelona spell, the Brazilian's form started to decline and he rarely made it into the starting XI. In the summer, Coutinho joined Bayern Munich on a one-season loan.
As for Ousmane Dembele, the Frenchman continues to suffer from numerous injuries. Having picked up his latest, the 22-year-old got ruled out until the end of the season.
Neymar left Barcelona in August 2017. Josep Maria Bartomeu's intensive efforts to bring the Brazilian back were supposedly the reason for Jordi Mestre's resignation in the summer of 2019.