Thursday 18 January 2018

Barcelona CEO says they are 'ready to buy' Coutinho in January transfer window

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho has reportedly reiterated his desire to move to Barcelona
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho has reportedly reiterated his desire to move to Barcelona

Mark Critchley

Barcelona are ready to bid for Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho again once the transfer window re-opens in January, according to the club’s chief executive.

Liverpool rejected three offers worth up to £114m from Barcelona for Coutinho, who also handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force through a move to Catalonia.

The Merseyside club stood firm, turning down the Brazilian’s request and repeatedly insisting that he would not be sold at any price.

Coutinho has since been reintegrated into Jürgen Klopp’s squad and has shown no sign of frustration at not being allowed to leave Anfield.

However, Barcelona chief executive Oscar Grau has said that the club is ready to resume their chase of the 25-year-old in three months’ time, though players may need to be leave the Nou Camp first.

“We are ready to buy Coutinho in the winter market, or any player the technical staff request,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“But it is important to adjust ourselves, so if there are to be arrivals, there must be exits as well.”

Barcelona’s pursuit of Coutinho escalated after Paris Saint-Germain finalised the world-record breaking €222m (£198m) signing of Neymar, activating a release clause in the forward’s contract to take him from the Nou Camp.

The Catalan club ultimately replaced Neymar by completing a €105m (£97m) move for Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele yet still could not persuade Liverpool to part with Coutinho.

“We must forget about the price paid for Neymar last summer,” Grau added, when discussing the Barcelona’s potential moves in the transfer market. “After taxes we received about €188m in income and a direct financial impact on the club's treasury of €144m.”

After missing out on Coutinho, Barcelona’s sporting director Albert Soler claimed that the club had decided against a move for the player after Liverpool had ultimately demanded €200m (£183m).

Liverpool, however, strongly denied this version of events and insisted that their definitive stance that Coutinho would end the summer transfer window at Anfield had never changed.

Independent News Service

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