Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has claimed that his club failed to sign want-away Liverpool talisman Phillippe Coutinho in the summer transfer window due to being priced out of the move by grossly inflated transfer fees. The transfer saga dominated the back-pages of Europe's papers during the summer, as the 'will-he-won't-he' story raged on for months on end.
In an interview with Catalunyan television station 8tv, via the Daily Star, the president of the La Liga giants expressed his frustration at failing to complete the deal.
Bartomeu contended: "If the market does not allow a move, then you can't force one. The market is changing sizeably because there is money coming into it that isn't from the world of football.
"I have no frustration with how the transfer period went, I'm very happy with our signings. We wanted a good right-back and Semedo arrived, Paulinho arrived in midfield and (Ousmane) Dembélé as a Neymar replacement. I’m also delighted about Deulofeu's return."
Barcelona failed with three attempts to sign the Brazilian sensation, with their highest bid reaching an eye-watering £118m.
Reds boss Jürgen Klopp remained adamant that the club wouldn't sell their star player, and stuck to his guns throughout the entire summer transfer window despite the 25-year-old handing in a highly controversial transfer request.
To replace Paris Saint-Germain's €222m world record signing Neymar, Barça eventually opted for Borussia Dortmund's Ousamane Dembélé, who cost the club an initial fee of around €105m.
The 20-year-old French prodigy has only played 22 minutes of La Liga action since joining the club, but provided an assist for Luis Suarez in last weekend's 5-0 thrashing of rivals Espanyol.