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FC Barcelona claim Liverpool demanded $237 mn to sell Coutinho

FC Barcelona on Saturday defended their decision not to sign Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho as the English football club demanded a huge sum of 200 million euros ($237 million) to sell the Brazilian.

“Liverpool put a 200 million (euros) price tag on a member of their squad. Logically, the club decided that it was not going to go ahead with the operation,” FC Barcelona Director of Professional Sports Albert Soler told the club’s website.

Soler also spoke about what he described as ‘madness’ in the transfer market this summer. “We could be here today presenting two players that have cost us 270 million euros,” he explained.

According to media reports, Barcelona went after Argentine winger Angel Di Maria of Paris Saint-Germain on the final day of the transfer window.

PSG had taken Barcelona’s Brazilian prolific forward Neymar for $264 million in August.

“That would have been irresponsible. If that had happened, then there really would have been cause to call for our resignation.”

Soler said that the changes in the market seen this year means the world is moving towards a “completely different model of football”, noting that the market has changed starkly, according to Barcelona’s website.

“The main priority was not to jeopardise the club’s equity and economic viability,” he added, before noting that “a club with 155,000 members must be managed reliably and responsibly”.

Asked about star forward Lionel Messi’s contract situation, Soler added that there is no cause for alarm and that “all that’s pending is the protocol of formally signing the documents”.

FC Barcelona Technical Secretary for Football Robert Fernández insisted that they still “have a magnificent squad”.

“I have no doubt about that. And the new signings will make us more competitive and as strong as we have been in recent seasons,” he noted.

Barcelona signed this summer Brazil midfielder Paulinho (around $40 million) and French forward Ousmane Dembélé (around $150 million) and right-back Nelson Semedo ($30 million). They also re-signed Gerard Deulofeu.

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