Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has addressed why both Philippe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal were omitted from the starting line-up for yesterday’s 4-0 friendly win over Napoli as part of their pre-season preparations.

“Coutinho and Vidal? They arrived late because of their participation at the Copa America and have to get back in shape,” Valverde explained in an interview with Mundo Deportivo.

The 55-year-old Spaniard then went on to suggest that the players are no longer guaranteed to start matches which will only add fuel to the transfer speculation fire concerning the two players.

“Last year, Coutinho and Vidal were important to the team, but now there is more competition and they have to fight harder to get a jersey.”

Coutinho drew links to Premier League club Arsenal before the English transfer window shut whilst Inter are believed to be courting Vidal with manager Antonio Conte eyeing a re-union with the player he worked with at Juventus.