Barcelona chief executive talks up January bid for Philippe Coutinho
Andy Hunter on 11 October 2017
The Barcelona chief executive, Òscar Grau, has claimed his club are prepared to make another attempt to sign Philippe Coutinho when the transfer window opens in January.
The Catalan club had three offers for the Brazil international rejected by Liverpool during the summer window, the third worth up to €130m (£116.7m) following Coutinho’s decision to submit a transfer request at Anfield.
Liverpool’s owner, Fenway Sports Group, held firm on its insistence Coutinho would not be sold regardless of the staggering sums being offered by Barcelona and its stance is not expected to change midway through a season. FSG’s position is strengthened by the five-year contract, without a release clause, that the 25-year-old signed in January.
Grau, however, has confirmed the Brazilian remains a target for the La Liga leaders, albeit with the proviso that any January incomings must be offset by departures. “We are ready to buy Coutinho in the winter market, or any player the technical staff request,” Barcelona’s chief executive said. “But it is important to adjust ourselves, so if there are to be arrivals, there must be exits as well. We must forget about the price paid for Neymar last summer. After taxes we received about €188m in income and a direct financial impact on the club’s treasury of €144m.”
Since returning to Jürgen Klopp’s side after a back injury, Coutinho has shown no sign of being distracted by his failed transfer attempt to leave. The playmaker has scored in his last three appearances for Liverpool and will carry even greater responsibility for Klopp’s team with Sadio Mané sidelined for up to six weeks by a hamstring injury sustained on international duty.
Liverpool host their arch-rivals Manchester United on Saturday and are seven points behind José Mourinho’s side with only seven league matches played.