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Updated: Barcelona’s €100M “Secret Agreement” with Liverpool for Coutinho

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A rumor out of Spain claimed Barcelona agreed not to poach Liverpool players until 2021. It’s since been confirmed. Sort of.

FC Internazionale v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group B
If you wanted to play in pink, Phil, you could have just gone up the road to play for United.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

A bit of a weird one this morning, and frankly, I’m not even sure what to make of it. Reports, which seem to be coming from Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, claim that Liverpool and Barcelona have an agreement that the Catalan club will not attempt to poach any additional Reds until the summer of 2021.

The secret agreement was allegedly reached during the contentious Philippe Coutinho saga, which eventually saw the talented Brazilian head to Barcelona in exchange for a cool £142 million.

Furthermore, they claim that this only applies to players Liverpool do not wish to sell. Right. Because Barcelona care deeply about other clubs’ feelings in the transfer market.

Had such an agreement been in place after the departure of Luis Suarez in 2014, it still would not have prevented Barcelona for coming for Coutinho in 2017 (and eventually landing him in the early days of 2018).

Considering the vastly improved Liverpool squad assembled by Jurgen Klopp—and talented players such as Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah being credibly linked to rivals Real Madrid—it would be truly bizarre for Barcelona to agree to this.

And the detail “unless Liverpool wish to sell” is quite the qualification for if (when) this rumor ends up being false. After all, it could be argued that Liverpool “wished to sell” Coutinho once Barcelona offered his true valuation.

Anyway, this appears to be just one of those stories that circulates when it’s the second week of international break and they’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel for stories.

UPDATE: Journalists with ties to the club have revealed that while no agreement specifically barring Barcelona from trying to sign a Liverpool player is in place, if Barcelona were to sign a Liverpool player before 2020 they would pay a €100M penalty in addition to any agreed transfer fee.