Barcelona abandoned their hopes of signing Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool after the Merseyside club demanded 200 million euros ($237.14 million) for the Brazil attacking midfielder, the Liga side’s director Albert Soler said on Saturday.
The Spanish transfer window shut on Friday night, with Barcelona failing to add to their signings of Ousmane Dembele, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Deulofeu and Paulinho, despite coach Ernesto Valverde stating publicly he wanted a stronger squad after losing Neymar to Paris St Germain for a world record fee of 222 million euros.
According to reports in the Spanish media, Barca made a late bid to try and land Angel Di Maria from PSG although their main target remained Coutinho, who Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp repeatedly insisted was not for sale.
Soler said Barca’s main problem in trying to acquire new players was that other clubs were trying to get more money out of them following Neymar’s world record sale.
He also said football was changing as now wealthy countries, rather than the clubs themselves, were calling the shots. PSG, who are owned by Qatar Sports Investments, not only acquired the services of Neymar but also signed France forward Kylian Mbappe, considered the most valuable young player in the world, on a season-long loan.
“PSG came to us with 222 million (for Neymar) and that meant everyone knew we had money. 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,” added Soler.