Barcelona may be interested in signing Philippe Coutinho. There isn’t a whole lot of controversy in that statement given their derisory €80M (£72M) bid for the player late last week. The problem isn’t with the basic idea that the Catalan club might want to sign the 24-year-old Brazilian.
No, the problem is when Sport, the media mouthpiece of said Catalan club, say that club representatives are meeting with people from Liverpool in London today, that negotiations are going well, and Liverpool have asked them to pay for €100M (£89M) for the chance to sign Coutinho.
Sport have decided to call it, the price they say Liverpool have placed on Coutinho, an “exorbitant” fee. They say Barcelona still believe they can land Coutinho for around the £72M first offered—just with the payments structured a little differently, with more money for Liverpool up front.
They even think the deal will be done by the end of the first week of August. Coutinho. To Barcelona. For £72M. Within the next two weeks. Either the folks at Sport haven’t been paying much attention to the transfer market this summer, or the people feeding them information at Barcelona haven’t.
Because in the current market, Manchester City just signed a pair of fullbacks for £101M and Romelu Lukaku just went to United for £90M and Everton have just offered £45M for Gylfi Sigurdsson—and Swansea have responded by telling them they still aren’t selling for less than £50M.
Oh yeah, and also rivals Real Madrid just paid €180M (£161M) for Kylian Mbappe, a hugely promising young striker with 58 total first team appearances for Monaco. If anything, it’s that deal that probably sets the market for what Coutinho is worth. And Liverpool, we know, have been watching the market.
We know because they have been trying to sign Naby Keïta and Virgil van Dijk, a pair of players they’re struggling to get to the club despite being willing to pay around £150M combined for the duo. In the current market, the idea that Liverpool would put an £89M price tag on Coutinho is ludicrous.
It’s rather beyond that, really. And if anyone at Barcelona or Sport actually think Coutinho’s worth that in the current market—worth less, even; worth just £72M—it’s massively insulting to both Liverpool and to the player, and it will never, ever result in a deal getting done. Not this summer or next.
Of course, the alternative is that Barcelona know this and are only putting on a show; that it’s all a song and dance to impress Neymar, who is friends with Coutinho and who Barcelona are struggling to keep this summer. It’s a stretch, but it’s less of one than the bullshit Sport are selling.