Barcelona have reportedly made a final push to sign Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho in the form of a £138 million bid.
According to Ed Aarons of The Guardian, a fourth offer for the player has been put on the table by the Blaugrana:
Very late one but told Barcelona have made a new bid of £138m for Philippe Coutinho. Liverpool still not expected to accept #lfc
— Ed Aarons (@ed_aarons) September 1, 2017
While the deadline for English clubs signing players was on Thursday night, teams in La Liga have until midnight on Friday to wrap up any new signings. It means Coutinho could still become a Barcelona player in practice.
However, at this late stage, it’d be a huge surprise if Liverpool did opt for a sale. According to Paul Joyce of the Times, Liverpool wanted to spend big on Virgil van Dijk and Thomas Lemar on the final day of the window, though the only arrival was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal.
According to Simon Hughes of The Independent, the determination from Liverpool to keep Coutinho stems from a desire to change the club’s image.
“Fenway have been determined to change Liverpool’s reputation and by not relenting to Coutinho’s wishes, for the time being at least, it sends a message to their own players as well as rivals that this is not a selling club,” noted Hughes.
Indeed, Liverpool released a statement earlier in the window saying they would not be entertaining any offers for Coutinho despite Barcelona’s admiring glances and substantial bid. The player then issued a transfer request in an attempt to get his move.
According to journalist Guillem Balague, despite this late interest, Barcelona seem resigned that they will not be getting one of their top summer targets:
The 4th FCB offer for Coutinho has been prepared for days but not sent yet. I think they realise it will be rejected
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 31, 2017
The pursuit of the player has been a somewhat desperate one from the Blaugrana, as they have sought to re-establish their reputation in the transfer window.
Paris Saint-Germain’s decision to part with £200 million to sign Neymar was a huge blow for the club. Not just in terms of losing a world-class talent, but any team Barcelona approached over signing a new player would have been aware of just how flush they are.
In Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona have made a tremendous, if not lucrative, capture from Borussia Dortmund. Still, journalist Rafael Hernandez hasn’t been pleased with the club’s work in the window:
Barcelona answers to Real Madrid winning consecutive UCLs and a double by having the worst summer window in the club’s history.
— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) August 31, 2017
There is time yet, of course, and while elite players around the world are away on international duty with their respective countries, doors may open late on in the window for Barcelona. Undoubtedly, there are areas in the squad that require an injection of class.
Coutinho will surely remain a Liverpool player at this point, though, regardless of whatever amount of money the Catalan giants are willing to put on the table.