Tuesday 21 November 2017

Barcelona claim Liverpool were willing to sell Philippe Coutinho but they refused to meet huge asking price

Philippe Coutinho wanted to leave Liverpool for Barcelona
Philippe Coutinho wanted to leave Liverpool for Barcelona

Ben Burrows

Barcelona have claimed that Liverpool named their price for Philippe Coutinho - but they were unwilling to pay it.

Barca embarked on a lengthy pursuit of the Brazilian following the £200m departure of Neymar to PSG with Coutinho himself submitting a formal transfer request following two failed bids.

Club sources have insisted that the midfielder was not for sale at any price this summer but Barcelona director of professional sports Albert Soler claims that stance changed on deadline day in Spain.

"On Friday, after weeks of offers and talks, Liverpool put a price on the player that we wanted [Coutinho]," he said alongside sporting director Robert Fernandez in a news conference on Saturday.

"A price of €200m and we decided we wouldn't do it. That's an example of the way football is now. This club and this board will not get involved in that, though. What's happened in the transfer market this summer has taken us to a totally different model of football which we're not used to."

Barca struggled in their chase for replacements for Neymar eventually sealing a move for Borussia Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele, the French youngster joining in a deal worth an initial €105m.

The summer window has seen spending spiral across Europe and Soler conceded that his club weren't willing to compete on such inflated terms.

"Countries have become the principle agents in the world of football. We haven't wanted to put the club at risk, a club of 150,000 members which is ran responsibly," he added.

"We're in a market where a goalkeeper has gone for €50m. We won't get involved in that. We won't put the club at risk. Uefa and the ECA have to take a decision and reflect on what's going on."

Independent News Service

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