Liverpool are reportedly set to miss out on a £35million windfall due to Philippe Coutinho’s lack of impact at Barcelona and with the player unlikely to fill the terms of a bonus-related incentives.
Coutinho was sent out on loan to Bayern Munich for this season after his high-profile move from Liverpool to Barcelona did not go fully to plan, but the German giants are not expected to sign him outright due to the high cost of their option to buy.
That has set Coutinho’s sights towards a return to the Premier League, and while a move back to Liverpool would be unlikely, two London rivals in Arsenal and Chelsea have been linked recently.
And with Coutinho’s exit at the Nou Camp looking increasingly likely, it means Liverpool will be the club hardest hit after the Daily Mail reported that the Reds are now “unlikely to receive” £35m in performance-related add-ons as part of the deal to take the Brazilian to LaLiga.
The transfer of Coutinho in January 2018 was reported at £142m – a club-record fee for Barcelona – but it’s now claimed that los Blaugrana only agreed to £107million ‘up front’ – due to be paid in installments over the five-and-a-half-year deal he penned upon joining the club.
And while Barca have an obligation to meet that £107m fee, the additional £35m of his transfer was expected to be made up in installements, payable when he met certain objectives and reached personal milestones at the Nou Camp.
Liverpool will have been confident of receiving their maximum £142m fee when the player departed for Spain, it now looks likely that Coutinho’s transfer will actually just have netted them a £107m windfall instead.
Hopes, however, were raised over the weekend that Coutinho could yet have a long-term future at Barcelona after coach Quique Setien revealed he was “counting on” Coutinho returning to Camp Nou and make an impression next season.
“I think Coutinho is a great player,” he told RAC1. “I like him a lot. He’s a player who, in principle, is Barcelona’s.
“Any team that wants him has to pay his clause (€400m) or a certain amount to Barca.
“I’m counting on him to be here at the start of next season. I don’t know what he wants to do.
“Perhaps I have to speak to him and ask him. He is a great player, without doubt.”
However, Barcelona are widely reported to have put the player up for sale and a report over the weekend claimed the club had told all but three members of their side they would be made available for a transfer this summer as they looked to garner funds to create a new €561m strikeforce.
Despite their financial concerns – which has seen their entire squad take a pay-cut – Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted the Spanish giants are still capable of signing the world’s elite stars.
“There is not going to be as much money in the transfer market because of the pandemic,” Bartomeu said. “But I predict that we are going to see a lot more swap deals.”
Should Coutinho end up back in the Premier League, then a move to Chelsea appears most likely with the Blues set to be edging closer to a significant double £100m outlay.
That comes after a report last month claimed the player has admitted to a close friend that he regrets his decision to quit the Reds for Barca back in January 2018.