“Liverpool wanted €200m for Coutinho…”

Liverpool would only sell Philippe Coutinho €200m this summer in a valuation which priced Barcelona out of a deal, according to Josep Maria Bartomeu.

The Blaugrana’s president revealed the English giants’ refused to negotiate on the Brazilian playmaker and believes this is due to the inflation caused by Neymar’s €222m move to Paris Saint-Germain.

“I will not say how much we offered, but [Liverpool] asked for €200m,” Bartomeu told a wide-ranging interview with TV3.

“We weren't going to give €200m or €150m – we decided to step away from such an expensive market, our offer was less than €100m, with add-ons it could have reached €120m.

“Money has come into football from outside the game and made (the transfer market) more expensive, which explains what happened with Coutinho.

“We have to make these investments in La Masia and the club’s academy, we must respect the rules.

“This is why I am happy with the investigation into PSG, which is a request made by European clubs.

“Neymar? Officially, we learned he was leaving when he told us…at the end of July we saw things weren't going well, but his father told us it was nothing.

“We believed his father’s word but there should have been more honesty, but we need to be self-criticism.”

Tags Josep Maria Bartomeu Liverpool Philippe Coutinho