A deadline day deal for the Brazilian international fell through but the Blaugrana are to return to Anfield with a January bid, totalling €110m, significantly less than they offered in the summer and woefully short of the €200m valuation placed on the player by Liverpool.
The Reds are unlikely to be impressed by the prospect of receiving €80m up front and €30m in add-ons with their own demands reflecting the inflated market caused by Paris St Germain’s purchase of Neymar Jr, 26, and Kylian Mbappe, 18.
Barcelona are counting on Coutinho to exert pressure on Liverpool to release him. However, the Brazilian midfielder, currently with the Seleçao for their World Cup 2018 qualifiers, handed in a transfer request during the summer which was rejected by the Reds.
The situation hasn’t changed since then which leaves puzzlement at why the outline of a deal has been made public.
Barcelona’s board was widely criticised during the summer for the absence of a glamorous signing with not even the arrival of the outstanding prospect Ousmane Dembele, 20, from Dortmund sating fans appetites.
A two-month absence due to a hamstring strain didn’t improve matters but hopes of Barcelona getting Coutinho cheaply are poisoned by Dembele’s fee of €145m. If they paid that much for a promising player, Liverpool will argue their prize asset is the ‘real deal’ and worth far more.
This saga is set to run for some time yet.