Alright look, I’m just going to say it. I don’t think Barcelona are being entirely forthright about this Coutinho business.
(What? What did I say? Stop laughing.)
So earlier today Steph told you about the latest round of Barcelona’s contemptible lies regarding their attempts to lure Philippe Coutinho away from Anfield. After spending the better part of two months feeding false stories to sympathetic reporters in Spain about how a Coutinho transfer was permanent— later this week! any day now! just waiting for the paperwork to go through!— one would think the club would have had to eat crow when transfer deadline day passed and Coutinho was still (nominally, at least) wearing Merseyside Red.
In what I can only guess was an attempt to save face and deflect blame away from club leadership— who, by some accounts, seem to have been motivated primarily by spite— Barça sporting director Albert Soler held a press conference saying that Liverpool were being greedy and predatory in their dealings. Soler said that Liverpool indicated a willingness to let Coutinho go, despite all their public statements to the contrary, but that they demanded a transfer fee of €200 million. Soler went on to say that he couldn’t continue negotiations in good conscience, as paying that much for a player— any player— would be imprudent and not in the long-term interests of the club. Soler THEN tried to suggest that Barcelona are the victims of modern football— greedy clubs, predatory and opportunistic agents, and a sport held captive by money and destructive commercial interests. (No, I’m not even kidding.)
“On Friday, after weeks of offers and talks, Liverpool put a price on the player that we wanted [Coutinho]. 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. Countries have become the principle agents in the world of football. We haven't wanted to put the club at risk, a club of 150,000 members which is ran responsibly. We're in a market where a goalkeeper has gone for €50m. We won't get involved in that. We won't put the club at risk. UEFA and the ECA have to take a decision and reflect on what's going on."
Wow. I mean. Wow. I live in a country where Donald Trump is president, so I really shouldn’t be surprised by blatant mendacity and rank bullshit anymore. And yet!
Anyway, Liverpool have since responded to Soler’s claims and characterized them as “absolutely false.”
Which isn’t surprising because, as Steph noted earlier today, Barcelona are lying. About everything. All the time. They’re a bunch of Lying Liarsons, and they lie. They lie, and then they lie about lying, and then when asked to explain their lies they lie some more. Lying has become an integral part of Barcelona’s business and media strategy, and they’re executing that strategy to perfection. And they’re doing that by lying. A lot.