The Guardian report that Barcelona were told they could have Philippe Coutinho on deadline day if they paid €200m (£183m) to Liverpool.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said he wanted more additions to the squad after losing Neymar to PSG in a world record €222m transfer, and while Coutinho was their priority, they also tried to sign Angel Di Maria.
Barcelona director Albert Soler said on Saturday:
Late last night Liverpool priced the player we wanted at €200m, and we decided we would not do it. It’s a sign of the new era of football, one which isn’t led by clubs. Something has to change, we won’t play along with this new way of understanding football. We didn’t want to risk the patrimony of the club, a club of 150,000 members which needs to be managed coherently and responsibly.
We are in a market where you pay €50m for a goalkeeper. We will not play along with a market that may not have lost its way entirely, but something has changed. This board will not put the club at risk.
PSG came to us with €222m [for Neymar] and that meant everyone knew we had money. When you go to the market and you have a lot of money, the demands made of you are extortionate. We found ourselves in unbelievable situations.
What has happened in the market this year takes us to a model of football different to the one we are used to. We used to be the ones that lead the market and now countries and investment funds are leading it. Countries have become the main agents in the football world.
I have to say, my heart goes out to poor Barcelona. Who could expect them to spend the ridiculous amount of money they received from the Neymar sale? In a transfer market that has gone mad and players are costing much more than they ever did before, I think clubs should sell their players to Barca for half of their valuation, just because it’s not fair on them. They’re a bit stuck for money you know.
It’s all well and good when Barcelona are trying to sign players, and they’re coming out saying these players have ‘Barca DNA’ so they’ll turn their heads, while the Spanish media play their part in trying to unsettle players.
Arsenal reportedly sent a letter to Barcelona earlier in the summer warning Barcelona to stop tracking Hector Bellerin or they would be reported for trying to tap the player up.
They only spent around £170m on 5 players this summer, so it just shows how hard it is for them. Boo-hoo.
Fair play to Liverpool for holding out for what they believe their player is worth and hanging on to Coutinho.
Liverpool have denied Barcelona’s claim that they set a price of €200m for Coutinho on deadline day.