At a news conference on Saturday, a day after the Spanish transfer window closed, Barcelona sporting director Robert and director Albert Soler told reporters that Coutinho was too expensive and they were not prepared to get involved in an inflated market, despite allegedly being told what they could buy the Brazilian for with only hours left of the window.
“On Friday, after weeks of offers and talks, Liverpool put a price on the player that we wanted [Coutinho],” Soler said 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.”
“The fact that Neymar paid his buyout clause and we had €222m meant everyone knew we had that money. We have tried to manage it with the sporting needs we had, that’s always the priority, but there are lines we can’t cross.
“We don’t usually talk about how the negotiations go. Liverpool put €200m on the table and we did not accept it. We appreciate the effort that the player made to come [by handing in a transfer request], but we can’t do anything else now.”