So much for a monster bid. Since having had their €85M plus €15M in add-ons offer rejected out of hand by Liverpool shortly before the season kicked off last weekend, talk surrounding Barcelona’s interest in signing Philippe Coutinho before the close of the transfer window has been about an imminent monster bid.
It was said it could end up being as high as €150M (£137M) and without any of it as add-ons. It was meant to, when it arrived, be a bid that would make it difficult for Liverpool to justify holding on to an unhappy player who has handed in a transfer request. It arrived today. And it wasn’t what everyone had been promised.
Instead, it was €125M (£114M), including add-ons. Those add-ons are, similar to Barcelona’s last bid, believed to be in the neighbourhood of €15-20M, making their base offer around €105M-110M (£96M-101M)*. It was rejected immediately by Liverpool, quicker even than they rejected the last offer, and without discussion.
The club had already discussed the possibility of a third bid arriving and all parties, from manager Jürgen Klopp to sporting director Michael Edwards and up through the club’s owners, had agreed it would be rejected and that Coutinho would not be sold. The bid that did arrive was not enough to give the club second thoughts.
We now await the reaction from Barcelona and Coutinho. Will the Catalans, having been rebuffed a third time, finally move on? Or will they finally, belatedly, put forward the kind of offer that might actually force Liverpool to reconsider their stance? And what of Coutinho, who would seem to have exhausted all reasonable options?
The next day or two could see the sage finally, mercifully put to rest. Or it could see it escalate even further if Coutinho decides he’s willing to risk his place at next summer’s World Cup by refusing to play for Liverpool this season if he isn’t sold.
*Addendum: Further reports peg Barcelona’s base bid at just north of £80M, with the remainder of nearly £35M being made up of add-ons, including plausible escalators such as Barcelona winning the Champions League and rather implausible ones such as Coutinho winning the Ballon d’Or.