Barcelona chiefs have claimed Liverpool placed a £185m price-tag on wantaway star Philippe Coutinho on transfer deadline day, but the Spanish giants refused to do business as it would have 'put the club at risk.'
Barcelona's pursuit of Coutinho was well-documented throughout the latter stages of the transfer window despite Liverpool's firm stance that the Brazilian was not for sale at any price, however the La Liga side have claimed that the Reds' did in-fact place a price on Coutinho in the final stages of the transfer window.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday following the closure of the transfer window, Barcelona's director of sports Albert Soler and technical secretary Robert Fernández offered an insight into the club's dealings, in what was a turbulent and manic summer of business.
With Barcelona under pressure to make a big-name signing following the departure of Neymar, Soler said of their dealings with Liverpool over Coutinho: "Yesterday, after weeks of offers and talks, Liverpool valued a player we wanted at €200m. We decided against that. We won't put the club at risk.
He was never for sale though, we told you this in June, July, August and yesterday. We never entertained any bids or had any meetings— ToggerGuru (@ToggerGuru) September 2, 2017
He added: "The fact he [Neymar] activated a clause unilaterally and left for €222m [£198m] caused everyone to know that we had money. We managed to avoid jeopardising the club's heritage and finances. We won't play in this inflated market.
Following their inability to secure Coutinho, the Barcelona board have been placed under significant pressure from fans to re-stabilise the club which is seemingly falling further behind arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Barcelona knew Liverpool wouldn’t sell Coutinho from the start, they used the press to pretend they were trying.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) September 1, 2017
Theatrics, all of it.
In a bid to justify the club's actions throughout the summer, Fernández insisted the squad is still capable of competing for top honours under new manager, Ernesto Valverde.
He said: "We have a fantastic squad and the new arrivals will help us to compete and maintain our standards."
Coutinho's desire to force through a move to Barcelona was no secret as handing in a transfer request and sitting out of Liverpool's start of the season proved as much.
Although the Reds released a statement insisting the Brazilian was going nowhere this summer, the Spanish club have now thrown a spanner in the works by claiming the Merseysiders changed their stance at the latest possible time and named a hefty price which left little time for Barcelona to negotiate.
It seems as though it is another development to add to the longstanding saga between the three parties involved, which will seemingly rear its head again in the near future.