Bundesliga expert Lee Price says a deal for Dembele to leave Borussia Dortmund has been done and it has had a significant knock-on effect on Liverpool.
Price believes the bumper fee Dortmund are demanding for Dembele – said to be in excess of £90m – will leave too big a hole in the Barcelona bank balance.
Despite selling Neymar for £200.6million, he thinks they won’t have enough cash to complete a deal for Philippe Coutinho.
Barcelona have already had two bids knocked back by Liverpool for the Brazilian midfielder, who last week handed in a transfer request.
Price told Express Sport: “Dortmund have agreed to sell Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona, it’ll happen. It’s just the fee that needs to be finalised.
“The German club are holding out for as much as they can possibly get – and more than £90million would be an incredible result for a player that cost them a tenth of that a year ago – which could scupper Barca’s interest in Philippe Coutinho.
“In any case, even with the sale of Neymar, the Catalans couldn’t afford both Dembele and Coutinho. They would’ve needed to find extra financing.
“Now, once Dembele joins, there’s going to be less money and, crucially, less inclination for Coutinho.
That will lend itself well to Liverpool’s hopes of convincing him to stay another year.”
Instead, Price believes a move is far more likely to go through next summer.
He added: “Then, Andres Iniesta will need replacing, a far more logical slot in the team for Coutinho, and Barca will have a new transfer budget to play with.
“That isn’t to say they won’t try to do both deals this summer, but they won’t be held to ransom for Coutinho.
“That’s already happened with Dembele, Neymar’s direct replacement.”