Barcelona Says Liverpool Offered to Sell Coutinho for €200M
Barcelona, Spain (AP) Barcelona says it rejected a last-minute offer from Liverpool to sell midfielder Philippe Coutinho for €200 million ($237 million) to the Spanish club on Friday on the final day of the transfer window.
Club official Albert Soler said on Saturday that "at the last hour, after weeks of offers and negotiations, Liverpool offered us a player that we were interested in for €200 million."
Soler said Barcelona turned down the offer because "Barca is a club owned by its members and it would have been irresponsible to put it at risk."
Barcelona acknowledged weeks ago that it was interested in signing Coutinho from the English club.
It had reportedly offered Liverpool a similar sum to the deal that it reached with Borussia Dortmund for France winger Ousmane Dembele last week. Dembele's transfer cost €105 million ($124 million) with add-ons that could take the final price to €147 million ($173 million).
Liverpool's proposal of €200 million for Coutinho would have brought it close to the world-record fee of €222 million ($262 million) that Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona to trigger the buyout clause in Neymar's contract last month.
Barcelona had said it wanted to buy "one or possibly two players" before the close of the transfer window in Spain on Friday, but it made no acquisitions after the signing of Dembele on Aug. 25.
Reports circulated that the Spanish club was close on signing Angel Di Maria but it never materialized into a concrete offer.