Barcelona Claim Coutinho Price Was Cut
Liverpool are trying to play down reports from Barcelona that Philippe Coutinho’s move to the Nou Camp was only able to take place because they lowered their price.
Coutinho finally sealed his transfer to Barcelona at the weekend with the Reds taking a fee that could see them pick up as much as £142million.
Barca vice-president Jordi Mestre told a press conference at Coutinho’s unveiling on Monday that the club were able to financially accommodate deals for both the Brazilian and for Ousmane Dembele who was signed from Borussia Dortmund last summer for a fee of £135million.
“The reduction of Liverpool has been important enough for us to have been able to make the signing of Coutinho and Dembele,” said Mestre. “The sports management makes some requests and if a competent chief executive, in this case Óscar Grau, tells us that the expense can be assumed, then there should be no problem.”
But sources at Anfield have told The Times that there was no reduction in price. There were claims in September, after Coutinho had failed to secured a transfer, that Liverpool had demanded €200million. Liverpool always maintained during the summer that Coutinho wasn’t for sale at any price.
The transfer was eventually done for an initial €120million (£106.4million) with up to €40million (£35.5million) in add-ons.
The September claim was always disputed by Liverpool and it is thought that the €200million figure was put about by an agent working for Liverpool on the deal. The figure was revealed by Albert Soler – at the time the director of professional sports at Barcelona. Soler said at the time that Barca had refused to pay such a high amount.
“The main priority was not to jeopardise the club’s equity and economic viability,” he said at the time.
Soler resigned in October in the aftermath of the decision to play the La Liga match with Las Palmas behind closed doors on the day of the Catalan independence referendum when there was civil unrest on the streets of Barcelona.