The Uruguayan’s proposed move to Juventus appears in danger of falling apart due to passport issues
Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman has insisted that Luis Suarez will not be frozen out of his squad if he stays at the club.
After taking over from Quique Setien in August, Koeman determined he had no place in his squad for the veteran striker.
There have been various clubs interested in the 33-year-old, including his former side Ajax and Italian champions Juventus.
It was Juve, though, who appeared to be closing in on a move for the Uruguayan after they agreed terms on a three-year contract worth €10 million (£9m/$12m).
But Suarez’s move to Turin is now in jeopardy, as a prolonged process of securing Italian citizenship may force Juventus to look elsewhere for reinforcements at forward.
Speaking after Barcelona’s 3-1 friendly win over Girona on Wednesday, Koeman said he would plan on utilising Suarez in 2020-21 should a move elsewhere fail to materialise.
“Suarez will be one more [member of the squad] if he stays,” the Barcelona coach told TV3.
“I was talking to Luis this morning. We will wait to see if there is a way out or not. We respect contracts and, from day one, we have said that if he stays on the squad, it will be one more.”
Another player whose future at the club has been in some doubt is Philippe Coutinho, who has returned to Barca after spending last season on loan at Bayern Munich.
The Brazilian scored against Girona and despite being linked with a move away, appears set to stay with the Catalans for the upcoming season.
“He is in high spirits at the moment, training and playing well,” Koeman said of Coutinho. “He has great quality. We must bear in mind that he needs the support of the coach and the fans.”
Koeman used Wednesday’s friendly to give minutes to several promising youngsters, including 19-year-old American Konrad de la Fuente.
The Dutchman had particular praise for the winger, but also highlighted the potential of Pedri and Riqui Puig.
“The important thing is to participate in training sessions and friendlies,” Koeman said. “If I had to highlight one young player I would say Konrad, but Pedri and Riqui also have a great future ahead of them.”