'Liverpool should want more than £81m for Coutinho' - Jason McAteer
Ireland international Jason McAteer has said that Liverpool should be looking for more than £81 million for star midfielder Philippe Coutinho.
ESPN reported on Tuesday that Coutinho is set to join Barcelona for a base fee of €90 million (£81.6m), with bonuses that could bring the deal to €120m (£108.8m).
Their reports have not been substantiated by other mainstream media outlets, and McAteer, who played 139 games for Liverpool between 1995 and 1999 claims that if the Reds do choose to sell, the fee should be higher than the £81.6 million that ESPN have reported.
"First of all I don't think it would be £81 million, I think they'd want a few more quid for him," McAteer told Independent.ie.
"I think they'd be looking more around £100 million that they'd want for him, but as the deal goes backwards and forwards, the player's emotions obviously then comes into it as well.
"I don't know what's happened there and how he feels about it, so let's say for argument's sake he wants to go, the manager has then got to decide if he has an unhappy player, that he can't turn around and then he feels that he's going to have to let him go, so all that comes into it as well.
"The fact is the window is starting to close isn't it? It's starting to run down the clock so you then have to replace him, and whoever you want knows that you have possibly got £100 million in your back pocket burning a hole.
"They'll ask for a premium on the player that you want from their club and it just all becomes very, very messy.
"It's out in the open. If it was all done behind closed doors you could possibly have an eye on a player you want to get without them knowing you're going to sell Coutinho for £100 million and business could be done.
"But in this day and age nothing is done in private so it becomes much more difficult to do business."
Liverpool have enjoyed a strong pre-season with wins over Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Hertha Berlin and a comprehensive 3-0 win over Bayern Munich, and yet, McAteer believes the Reds were in a stronger position three weeks ago when they had more time on the clock in the transfer window and more healthy players in their squad.
"We were in a better place three weeks ago," added McAteer.
"There was no sign of Coutinho going anywhere, [Naby] Keita was on the cards, [Virgil] van Dijk was virtually done, [Adam] Lallana was fit and Robertson was on his way, but obviously today it's a little bit more of a precarious situation.
"We don't know what's going to happen with Coutinho, van Dijk hasn't moved any closer and Keita's off, and Lallana's injured, so the optimism is a little bit flat at the minute.
"Don't get me wrong. I think we'll get it sorted before the window shuts and obviously the Coutinho thing will happen if the price is met. Everyone has a price don't they, but we'll just have to wait and see but fingers crossed that he stays and the other fingers are crossed that if we get van Dijk in we'll be in a better place."
Irish football heroes, Niall Quinn, Shay Given and Jason McAteer were in Dublin to officially launch Cadbury’s brand new partnership with the Premier League, to become their ‘Official Snack Partner’.