Liverpool wanted Barcelona to double Coutinho offer

Barcelona never bid more than €100m for Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, insists Josep Maria Bartomeu

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted the club never bid more than €100m for Philippe Coutinho.

This follows claims made by Albert Soler, Barcelona’s director of professional sports, that Liverpool priced the Brazilian at €200m – a figure the Catalans were unwilling to meet.

Barcelona lodged a total of three bids for Coutinho during the summer transfer window, all of which were rejected by Liverpool.

And speaking to Spanish TV, Bartomeu has revealed the two clubs were miles apart in their valuations of the 25-year-old.

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“I will not say how much we offered, but they asked for €200m,” he told 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.

“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-criticial.”

Bartomeu also defended Barcelona’s summer transfer policy which has come under criticism given the club's choice of signings.

The club signed Tottenham flop Paulinho and brought Gerard Deulofeu back to the Nou Camp after his spell at Everton.

“There was a strategy in place for our summer,” Bartomeu claimed. “Paulinho? He was the midfielder we needed – a player with experience, a leader with the Brazilian national team - he will add a lot to our team.

“His showing at Getafe was excellent and there will be a lot more to come I am sure.

“Deulofeu? He has returned as a better player and now he can bring us what he has learnt and how he has developed.”

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