THE HAGUE: Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said on Tuesday that his Barcelona counterpart Josep Maria Bartomeu told him the Catalan giants could not afford Memphis Depay after reports in Dutch media a deal was almost complete.
De Telegraaf reported earlier on Tuesday that Netherlands forward Depay was set to join compatriots Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Koeman at Barca this week in a transfer worth €25 million.
Responding on Twitter, Aulas said: “The president of Barcelona told me on Sunday that Barca are really suffering from the Covid crisis and were not able to make an offer.”
Koeman has been on the hunt for a striker after telling Uruguayan Luis Suarez he wasn’t in his plans for the coming season.
Depay played an important role in Lyon’s progress to the Champions League semifinal and scored a hattrick in their opening Ligue 1 win of the season over Dijon.
However, he had announced that he did not wish to extend his Lyon contract, which expires next summer, and has never hidden his desire to play “for a bigger club”.
The 26-year-old started on the bench for Lyon’s Ligue 1 match against Montpellier on Tuesday night.
He began his career with PSV Eindhoven before moving to Manchester United and, in 2017, Lyon.