Barcelona have revealed that Liverpool would not sell star man Philippe Coutinho for any less than 200m euros during the summer transfer window. The fee, which equates to around £178m, was well above the Catalan club’s valuation of the Brazilian – who instead opted to sign Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for £97m.
The news comes after Barcelona’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke to Spanish TV about the transfer, insisting that the club simply could not meet Financial Fair Play rules if they had have given into Liverpool’s demands.
“I will not say how much we offered, but [Liverpool] asked for 200m euros,” said Bartomeu.
“We weren’t going to give €200m or €150m – we decided to step away from such an expensive market, our offer was less than €100m, with add-ons it could have reached €120m.”
“Money has come into football from outside the game and made [the transfer market] more expensive, which explains what happened with Coutinho.”
“We have to make these investments in La Masia and the club’s academy, we must respect the rules.”
“This is why I am happy with the investigation into PSG, which is a request made by European clubs.”
“Neymar? Officially, we learned he was leaving when he told us…at the end of July we saw things weren’t going well, but his father told us it was nothing.”
“We believed his father’s word but there should have been more honesty, but we need to be self-criticism.”
[Quotes via Sky Sports]
After Neymar’s departure, Coutinho looked like a certainty to join Barcelona – leaving Anfield for a potential Premier League record fee. However, the forward remains a Liverpool player, and the Merseyside club’s stance on him seems clear – pay the 200m euro asking price or no deal.