In a genuinely surprising turn of events on Tuesday night, Sky Sports has reported that Barcelona will be placing a fourth bid with Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho, this time for £101m upfront + £37m in add-ons.
As recently as Monday, the concensus among connected journalists was that Barcelona had given up on Coutinho in the face of Liverpool’s unyielding stance on the player. Reports began leaking that Coutinho was returning to training while Brazilian sources came out blaming Barca and Coutinho’s agent for the player’s unsavory actions this summer.
Then some strange things happened Tuesday in quick succession. First, news broke that Neymar would be suing his former club for breach of contract for €7.8m. Then photos on Neymar’s Instagram showed the Brazilian palling around with his old Barca teammates, including Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Gerard Pique. Next, Klopp held his pre-Hoffenheim press conference wherein he reaffirmed the club’s stance on Coutinho, but admitted that the player wouldn’t be involved in Wednesday’s match due to ‘illness’. Finally, later that evening, news of this surprise fourth bid broke on Twitter.
Barcelona fourth bid for Philippe Coutinho expected to be £101m up front plus £37m in add ons linked to Champions League appearances— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) August 22, 2017
Might all be a series of unconnected coincidences, but it does seem as though this bid was unexpected to most people with knowledge of the situation.
Considering there’s just over a week left before the transfer window closes, it seems probable that, should this bid become official, it would meet the same fate as its three predecessors. Liverpool has all the leverage in this situation, and Barcelona are visibly desperate for a big win in the wake of an otherwise dismal summer. Unfortunately, they want to lean on their reputation as well as shady tactics - another report of a bid timed to unsettle Liverpool the night before a match - instead of providing the big money necessary to fix their problems.
In the mean time, sorry if you thought we were finally done talking about this. Is it September yet?