Barcelona Say Liverpool Quoted €200M for the Transfer of Philippe Coutinho

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2017

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Middlesbrough at Anfield on May 21, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Albert Soler, Barcelona's sporting director, said on Saturday that Liverpool were ready to sell Philippe Coutinho for €200 million (£185 million).

Barcelona held a press conference to discuss the club's summer business, and questions naturally came up regarding the Brazilian player, who was strongly linked with a move to the Camp Nou.

Per the Guardian's Sid Lowe, the Catalan giants were unwilling to meet the valuation slapped on the player late in the transfer window:

"After weeks of offers [for Coutinho], yesterday Liverpool wanted €200 million for one player" Soler told reporters. "We won't put the club at risk."

According to Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph, this is not the case:

In addition to Coutinho, Paris Saint-Germain wanted €70 million (£64 million) from the Blaugrana before agreeing to sell them Angel Di Maria, meaning a deal was not pushed through on deadline day, per journalist Rik Sharma.

Soler suggested Barcelona shouldn't be spending an extortionate amount on a couple of players, per Football Espana:

Sharma couldn't help but notice some hypocrisy from Barcelona given the money they spent to sign Ousmane Dembele and Paulinho in the summer:

Robert Fernandez, the club's technical secretary, was alongside Soler, and the duo answered questions about a clutch of players the Blaugrana were linked with throughout the summer.

PSG midfielder Marco Verratti was one, and Fernandez admitted some talks were held between the two clubs regarding the player. He also provided further details about other targets, including Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez and OGC Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri:

Questions were also asked about Neymar, whose departure for PSG prompted a summer to forget for the Blaugrana.

The Brazilian only signed a new contract at the Camp Nou last year, though he was happy to move clubs when PSG paid the £200 million required to buy out his Barca deal. The sale not only left the club deflated but also with a gaping hole in the attacking third.

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Neymar Jr of PSG during the French Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and AS Saint-Etienne (ASSE) at Parc des Princes on August 25, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Soler said losing Neymar was a body blow and that finding players to replicate his influence was a thankless task:

As journalist Kieran Canning noted, there was also a worrying error from Soler when talking about Neymar's sale:

When asked about Lionel Messi's contract situation, he wasn't completely convincing, suggesting the deal had not been signed yet:

Towards the end of the press conference, Lowe said Barcelona's directors had done little to dispel the confusion surrounding the club's summer activity:

With supporters evidently unhappy with how matters have gone, those in positions of power at Barcelona will be hopeful those on the pitch can put together some strong performances. If the team were to struggle, there would be plenty of ire aimed at those at the top of the club.

Dembele is a talent and has the potential to be a fine signing for Barcelona. But after losing Neymar and failing to bolster other areas of their squad adequately, it's going to be tough for the Blaugrana to rival the likes of Real Madrid on the domestic and European scene throughout 2017-18.

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