Philippe Coutinho: Liverpool deny Barcelona claim that Reds wanted £183m

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho signed a new five-year contract in January

Liverpool have denied Barcelona's claim that they wanted 200m euros (£183m) for playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

Barcelona director Albert Soler said the Reds put that valuation on the Brazilian on the final day of the Spanish transfer window on Friday.

Liverpool turned down three offers from the Spanish side for Coutinho, who had made a transfer request, and maintain the 25-year-old was not for sale.

The Anfield club regard Barcelona's claim as "absolutely false".

"Liverpool were asking for 200m and logically we didn't accept that," said Soler at a news conference on Saturday.

"We thank the player for the efforts he made, because he did make a big effort and showed he wanted to play for us.

"The situation ended as it ended and there is nothing else we can do."

Barcelona wanted Coutinho after selling his Brazil team-mate Neymar to Paris St-Germain for a world record fee of £200m.

Liverpool said Coutinho was not for sale and rejected bids of £72m, £90m and one in the region of £114m prior to the deadline in Spain, which closed a day later than in England.

Coutinho, who scored 14 goals last season and spent six weeks out with an ankle injury, signed a new five-year deal at Anfield in January which did not include a release clause.

He then said he wanted to leave via email, a day before the Reds opened their Premier League campaign at Watford on 12 August.

A back injury has forced him to miss all three top-flight games this season and the two legs of a Champions League qualifier against TSG Hoffenheim, which the Reds won 6-3 on aggregate.

However, the midfielder made his first appearance of the season when he played for Brazil in a 2-0 win over Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday, scoring the second goal.

'Countries have become the main agents in the football world'

When asked about the £183m asking price, Soler said Barcelona "don't want to get caught up in such an inflated market" and "we won't put the club at risk".

Uefa has opened a formal investigation into PSG as part of its "ongoing monitoring" of clubs under Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

PSG have been owned by the Gulf state of Qatar, via its Qatar Sports Investments fund, since 2011.

The French club more than doubled the world record transfer fee by signing Neymar. They have also signed striker Kylian Mbappe on loan from Monaco and could pay £165.7m for him in 2018.

"PSG came to us with 222m euros [for Neymar] and that meant everyone knew we had money," said Soler.

"When you go to the market and you have a lot of money, the demands made of you are extortionate.

"We found ourselves in unbelievable situations."

Barcelona signed forward Ousmane Dembele Borussia Dortmund for an initial £96.8m on 28 August, potentially rising to £135.5m, in addition to bringing in Nelson Semedo, Gerard Deulofeu and Paulinho.

Soler added: "What has happened in the market this year takes us to a model of football different to the one we are used to.

"We used to be the ones that led the market and now countries and investment funds are leading it. Countries have become the main agents in the football world."

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