Liverpool remain unbothered by claims in the Catalan press that Philippe Coutinho is destined for Barcelona this summer, and with good reason, given those reports have as yet contained numerous clues that despite the noise, there’s no real chance of the player leaving this summer.
The latest come today, via Sport, claiming Coutinho is “almost certain” to join. Similar to if it came from The Liverpool Echo, there is a very good chance it’s being said based on information coming from within the club. Yet it almost certainly has very little truth to it.
The problems are found in the details. The headliner being that Barcelona believe they will pay no more than €75-85M for the 25-year-old. In Pounds that’s £67-76M, or, on the low end, about what Liverpool were willing to go up to for Naby Keïta had RB Leipzig been willing to deal.
In the current market, where Manchester City spent £101M to land a pair of fullbacks and Romelu Lukaku cost £90M, the idea Liverpool would even be open to discussing Coutinho’s departure for that kind of a lowball fee doesn’t pass the smell test.
Yet despite the expectation that Barcelona are set to receive a windfall for Neymar, who is heading to PSG for €222M, Sport insist that’s all Barcelona would pay for Coutinho. And that rather than laughing at it, Liverpool have proven wholly open to negotiating based on it.
That’s the second big problem with what Sport and others in the Barca-briefed press are saying. The third is Neymar and that Sport admit today that even with his pending departure, Coutinho isn’t considered a priority signing—it’s why the club won’t go above €75-85M for him.
Plus part of the reason he was interesting to Barcelona—and at least a small part of why Coutinho would have been interested in them—was Neymar, who wanted more Brazilians at the club. Elsewhere, Sport add to that narrative with claims Neymar is now trying to convince Coutinho to join him at PSG.
A lowball bid we know Liverpool couldn’t accept, suggestions Liverpool are open to negotiations when we know they categorically aren’t, telling readers that despite Barcelona’s desire to sign Coutinho he isn’t really considered a key signing, and the Neymar factor.
And that doesn’t even get to their claim that Coutinho will take a pay cut to make the switch. Despite saying he is “almost certain” to end up at Barcelona, the reality—for this summer, at least—is that he is almost certain not to. The rumours and reports so far just haven’t been plausible.
Liverpool, meanwhile, remain almost disdainfully indifferent to the talk in the Catalan press. The club aren’t concerned about losing Coutinho this summer, and it will take more than some very poorly constructed reports in the Barca-briefed press before anyone else should be.