Soccer NewsMonday 18th December 2017

Barcelona won't pay €140m for top target, world-class alternative more likely says Spanish football expert

Barcelona won't pay €140m for top target, world-class alternative more likely says Spanish football expert

Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague has had his say on the latest rumours surrounding Barcelona target and Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho.

Despite all the noise around him over his future, the Brazilian continues to impress on the pitch as he was instrumental at the weekend and took his tallies to 10 goals and eight assists in 17 appearances for the Reds so far this season.

It comes after a summer in which Barcelona reportedly saw three separate bids rejected for the playmaker as per BBC Sport, while Coutinho himself handed in a transfer request to try and get a deal done.

In that sense, he deserves a lot of credit for remaining focused and committed, putting any potential disappointment of not sealing a move to the Nou Camp behind him and continuing to perform for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Balague now envisages that Liverpool will likely hold on to their key man for some time yet, as he’s suggested that Barcelona may try again in January for Coutinho but with the likelihood of a deal being done being very low, they may well land Griezmann next summer instead.

“If you read the Catalan press, with leaks from the club and it seems they have put a price and it is €140m,” he told Sky Sports. “Barcelona will try to get Coutinho in January, they will make an offer, they always said they will.

“However, I get the impression it will be an insufficient offer because I’m convinced they can’t have Griezmann and Coutinho in the same team, they just don’t have money.”

It does seem to be a case of one or the other, as Mundo Deportivo note that while a possible meeting between Griezmann’s family and Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu took place, the Frenchman has a €100m release clause that will have to be met.

In turn, with Balague also discussing Barca’s financial limitations, spending €200m doesn’t seem to be within their reach and so if Liverpool continue to refuse to have their resolve broken in January, it looks like Coutinho may be staying for longer than everyone expected.

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