Rumours continue to fly out of Spain that Philippe Coutinho is on his way out of Liverpool, likely by early August. Last week, Barcelona tabled an insulting £72m bid for the player which has been fuelling transfer speculation ever since. That speculation has ratcheted up in recent days, starting with reports that Barcelona officials had flown to London to finalize a deal (even if they probably haven’t). Now it’s being said, at least in Spain, that Coutinho has agreed to personal terms with the club while negotiations continue (though he probably hasn’t).
While Barcelona having an interest in Coutinho is understandable, their sudden lowball bid was a surprise when it leaked. It’s worth noting, though, that this revelation came just as Barcelona star and fellow Brazilian Neymar was making waves about wanting out. The reason for Neymar’s discontent is said to be the lack of other Brazilians on the team. He also perceived Barca’s disinterest in signing any of his recommendations—most often fellow Brazilians—as a personal slight.
Once Barca realized Neymar’s interest in PSG—a club positively teeming with Brazilians —was genuine, a bid for Neymar’s bestie Coutinho was made as a way to appease their want-away superstar. And so here we are.
Liverpool were never going to accept such a low bid for Coutinho, not when the player still has five years on his current contract, and not when the market is so inflated. More recent reports have at least acknowledged this, saying that Barcelona fear Liverpool may ask for upwards of £90m for their best player.
Well, you don’t say.
I mean, you really don’t say, because £90m is still a ridiculously low figure for a player that Liverpool neither want nor need to sell, and because this is likely all a smoke screen, and once Neymar gets his head out of Paris and back in Barcelona, this rumour will fade. That isn’t to imply that the Spanish giants won’t one day make a real, concerted effort to court Coutinho—especially if he has another stellar season with Liverpool—but right now, this appears to be more about putting on a show to keep Neymar than a reflection of any real determination to sign Coutinho this summer.