BARCELONA: Liverpool would only sell Philippe Coutinho for €200m this summer which is what priced Barcelona out of a deal, according to the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Liverpool denied putting a price tag on Coutinho earlier this month, Sky sources understand, but Barcelona’s president has reiterated the Spanish club ended their pursuit due to the Reds’ asking price.
Speaking to Spanish TV, Bartomeu insisted Barcelona would not have been able to meet Financial Fair Play rules had they met Liverpool’s transfer demands.
“I will not say how much we offered, but (Liverpool) asked for 200m euros,” said Bartomeu.
“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-critical.”
Barcelona spent £97m from the sale of Neymar on Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, but he now faces four months out after suffering a thigh injury during Saturday’s win at Getafe.