In Focus: Liverpool star Coutinho may have shot himself in the foot

Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez has admitted that the club are having ‘difficulty’ agreeing a deal for Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho due to the absence of a release clause, reports the Liverpool Echo.

What’s the word?

The publication claims that the Spanish giants are preparing a third bid after getting a £72m offer rejected and an £80m bid knocked back.

It has become clear that Coutinho wants a move after handing in a transfer request, but Liverpool hold all the cards.

In January when the Brazilian signed a new long-term contract, one of the most interesting parts of the deal was that there was no buyout clause, therefore making it harder for rival teams to snatch Coutinho.

Liverpool’s American owners Fenway Sports Group released a statement last week insisting that the 25-year-old will not be sold ths summer.

Fernandez has now opened up about how difficult it has been trying to get deals over the line for both Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele.

The Liverpool Echo quotes the Barca chief as saying:

“Not just Barca but any team looking for top quality players are getting involved in a very difficult situation in this market. Why? Because the market is where clubs like us want to sign top quality players. There’s no buy-out clauses so that makes things trickier.

“With respect to Liverpool and Dortmund, when there are negotiations you need time, you need to work things into a favourable situation for players and ourselves.

“We still have days ahead of us, would like to move things faster, but do admit they’re two players we would like here. But it’s the clubs who will have the final say on if we finally achieve those two transfers.”

What happens next?

Well, Fernandez has made it clear that Barcelona are still hopeful of getting their man.

It is still possible that a deal will be struck, but Liverpool are in control of this situation and they have no need to sell.

Coutinho is tied down to a long-term contract, and the lack of a release clause massively works in the club’s favour.

It is likely that the Brazilian did not push for a buyout figure in good faith, but now that he has been forced to formally request to leave, he may be regretting his decision not to include one.

If Coutinho is still a Liverpool player come September 1 then he will have to try to win back the fans’ support.

There are no indications that the playmaker’s teammates have been unhappy with his conduct, so there will not be any wounds to heal on that front.

Given that Coutinho is Liverpool’s best player, manager Jurgen Klopp would play him, so perhaps a few goals here and there would be enough to get the supporters back on side.