The Dutch attacker had looked set for a switch to Camp Nou but budget constraints prevented a move from materialising
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed that Memphis Depay is “disappointed” with Barcelona after the Catalan club failed in their attempts to sign him, but that the forward will prepare himself to move to Camp Nou in January.
The Netherlands attacker had gone as far as agreeing personal terms with the Spanish heavyweights, as revealed by OL sporting director Juninho, but the Blaugrana’s failure to offload dead wood ahead of the transfer deadline meant they did not have the capital to finalise a deal.
With Luis Suarez being sold to Atletico Madrid, Memphis had been at the top of Ronald Koeman’s wishlist as he continues his squad rebuild in Catalunya, but the former Oranje coach will have to wait until the winter at the earliest to be reunited with the 26-year-old.
“Since the beginning I have been clear with Memphis,” Aulas told a press conference on Wednesday. “I spoke with president Bartomeu at Barcelona twice, he told me he couldn’t see how things could happen.
“I know that Koeman made him continue to hope and that Memphis was ready to make sacrifices. Today, he is disappointed, but not towards Lyon, more towards Barcelona. He is going to do everything he can to find himself in a position where he moves there in January.
“It is not up to me to make that decision, it is Juninho, in the same way that he has taken full responsibility for transfer situations with Vincent Ponsot and Rudi Garcia. He fought with everything he had for Memphis to stay.
“I have not abandoned the idea of extending [Depay’s] contract, but as he has always said no, it looks difficult to do.”
In Barcelona, meanwhile, a motion of no confidence in club president Josep Maria Bartomeu will go ahead after club members reached the minimum amount of verified votes to push through a presidential referendum.
Bartomeu’s dismal handling of the club’s transfer affairs over the years are seen as a major factor in the club’s inability to finance moves for the likes of Depay, with 30-year-old Miralem Pjanic’s swap with a much younger Arthur Melo highlighting how poorly the books have been balanced.