Barcelona dropped out of the chase for Philippe Coutinho this past summer after Liverpool demanded £178 million for him, Josep Maria Bartomeu has claimed.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has claimed that Liverpool slapped a price tag of £178 million on Philippe Coutinho to price them out of a deal, which is why the Blaugrana pulled the plug on their pursuit of the Brazilian playmaker.
Coutinho’s career has been on a constantly upward trajectory in the last few seasons, with the player establishing himself as a pivotal figure for Liverpool. The 2016-17 season resulted in his stock skyrocketing further, after he bagged 13 goals and 7 assists in 31 Premier League outings.
The successful campaign helped Coutinho attract interest from some of the biggest clubs in the world. But, Barcelona remained in hot pursuit of the Brazilian playmaker throughout the summer. The player, too, was desperate for a move, indicated by the fact that he handed a transfer request to Liverpool, while also refusing to play for the Reds.
Bartomeu: “I will not say how much we offered (for Coutinho). Liverpool asked for 200 million, but we were not going to give 200 or 150m.” pic.twitter.com/RGffcflptG
— ~ (@UltraAutistic) September 19, 2017
Widespread reports suggest that Barcelona view Coutinho as a long-term successor to Andres Iniesta at Camp Nou. With the Blaugrana already reeling from the void left by Xavi’s departure, they are eager to make preparations for his former partner-in-crime.
Liverpool had initially adopted a firm stance on the player, insisting he won’t be sold in the summer, but as the window reached its end, the Reds seemed to have softened their position on the player.
As it now turns out, the Merseyside club had only done so by slapping an astronomical £178 million price tag on Coutinho, as Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu claimed recently.
As reported by The Sun, Bartomeu revealed in an interview with TV3, “I will not say how much we offered, but they asked for €200m. “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.”
Ultimately a deal for Coutinho failed to materialise, with Barcelona reluctant to shell out the eye-watering sum to land the Brazilian. The Blaugrana are now reportedly set to turn their attention back towards Jean Michael Seri as Ernesto Valverde focuses on bringing a playmaker next summer.