Saturday 23 September 2017

Liverpool furious at false claims they offered Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £200m

Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho – (David Davies/EMPICS Sport)
Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho – (David Davies/EMPICS Sport)

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool have rejected claims from Barcelona they offered to sell Philippe Coutinho for £200 million before the Spanish transfer window closed.

Deals in La Liga were permitted until Friday night, 24 hours after the Premier League. And Barcelona officials today suggested they were contacted and offered the 25-year-old for the eye-watering sum.

Barcelona director Albert Soler made the remarks at a news conference on Saturday morning as the Catalans tried to explain their failure to recruit the player.

Liverpool were asking for £200m and logically we didn't accept that,” said Soler.

“We thank the player for the efforts he made, because he did make a big effort and showed he wanted to play for us.

“The situation ended as it ended and there is nothing else we can do.”

However, Anfield sources have rubbished those remarks, branding them ‘absolutely false’ and ‘not true in any way, shape or form’.

Barca did attempt to contact Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group on Friday, but their advances were again rejected as there was no wish to negotiate. At no point were Liverpool prepared to set a price for the player in the summer transfer window because Coutinho was not for sale.

Liverpool have no desire to engage in a war of words with Barcelona, but there is incredulity at Anfield with the latest comments given how consistent club owners FSG have been since the first approach.

Following Barcelona’s first bid of £72million on July 20, Liverpool communicated that Coutinho would not be sold under any circumstances or for any price.

These private guarantees were made public on August 11 after a second bid of £90 million, at which point FSG referenced a ‘definitive stance’ in the hope Barca would not return.

Barcelona were not dissuaded and made another offer on August 23. Liverpool’s instant response was to write directly to Barcelona to reiterate the sentiments of their public statement.

Barca are inevitably taking flak from their supporters for failing to sign the player who was supposed to replace Neymar. It appears Soler’s comments are an attempt to appease supporters.

However, Liverpool’s position is they never wavered from their stance.

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