Barcelona gear up for clear-out as Bartomeu admits players will leave

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Denis Doyle
Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti are among the Blaugrana stars rumoured to be close to the exit after a disastrous end to the current season

A number of Barcelona stars may be packing their bags in anticipation of a summer clear-out after president Josep Bartomeu revealed that some players will be let go. 

The Catalans finished their season on a low note with a 2-1 defeat in the Copa del Rey final against Valencia on Saturday

Lionel Messi's late goal was not enough to bring Barca back into the game after Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo had given Los Che a commanding lead in the first half, and the pre-match favourites were forced to relinquish the Copa after four straight victories in the competition. 

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That reverse also set the seal on a disastrous run-in for a side that was in contention for a treble less than a month ago. 

La Liga was won with ease, but Barca's Champions League dreams were similarly extinguished in painful fashion at Anfield when Liverpool stormed to a 4-0 win to overturn a seemingly unassailable first-leg advantage and reach the final. 

As a result, several of Ernesto Valverde's charges - as well as the coach himself - may find their places at Camp Nou under threat. 

Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti are two established first-teamers considered for a sale, while Barca have already moved to bring in Frenkie de Jong from Ajax - and more new names are expected. 

"The season ends with the La Liga title. It wasn't to be in the Copa del Rey and we keep moving forward," Bartomeu signalled to reporters in the wake of Copa del Rey defeat in Seville.

"Every year new players come in. So far we have confirmed De Jong's signing and now we will work on bringing in others and moving players on, as is normal every summer.

"Now is not the moment to do anything. There are always new signings, but now is not the moment to talk about it."

De Jong's Ajax team-mate Matthijs de Ligt is one man mentioned as a possible Barca transfer target this summer, while an approach is also expected for Antoine Griezmann after Atletico Madrid's World Cup winner revealed he would not be staying at the Wanda Metropolitana beyond the 2018-19 season.

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