Barcelona hate nothing more than being perceived as weak. They are a superclub, one more powerful than any other, who can bully and manipulate as they so wish. They’re d*cks, basically.
Which is the only explanation for the latest update on Philippe Coutinho’s future. According to the well-connected Times writer Phil Joyce, the Catalan club have issued an ultimatum to Liverpool: Accept an offer you have already rejected once for a player you have no intention of selling, or we will withdraw said bid.
‘Barcelona’s response to having a third bid of up to £118million rejected for Philippe Coutinho was to make contact with Liverpool again on Friday and impose one of the transfer market’s more bizarre deadlines,’ Joyce writes. Barcelona, of course, made a £119m bid for Coutinho on Friday, comprised of some rather silly add-ons. And now Liverpool must accept it, or face the humiliation of not selling a player they want to keep.
It is the silliest ultimatum since we walked out of our job as Dulwich Hamlet boss despite winning the Premier League and Champions League, all because the chairman wouldn’t improve our youth academy. Oh, Football Manager.
GET YOUR PHIL
That is not all there is in terms of Coutinho updates. Those of you who enjoy Sunday morning transfer gossip, will be familiar with the workings of rugby journalist Neil Fissler, and his general love of football.
Fissler claims on Sunday that Barcelona have made a fourth offer of £130m for the Brazilian, which is the tastiest of exclusives. Liverpool, Fissler writes, value Coutinho at £10m more.
Of course, this is the same Neil Fissler who claimed that:
Each of those claims were made on a Sunday since March of this year, and turned out to be wrong. Funny, that.
Who might Liverpool target to replace Coutinho? Reports emerged earlier this week stating that Julian Draxler was up for sale, and while his agent later dismissed those claims, it seems there might be a semblance of truth to them.
According to the John Richardson of The People, Liverpool are one of three ‘Premier League big boys’ targeting the winger. Arsenal and Manchester United are close by, of course.
Richardson reports that Draxler is available for ‘a bargain in today’s crazy market’; PSG want £32m for the player they only signed in January.
Jurgen Klopp even reportedly tried to sign him in the winter before the French giants moved in. But something tells us he won’t be repeating that trick this summer.
AND THE REST
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is planning to spend £200m on Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater, 27, Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 24, and three defenders from Southampton: Virgil van Dijk, 26, Cedric Soares, 25, and Ryan Bertrand, 28… The Blues have also enquired about central defender Toby Alderweireld’s interest in leaving Tottenham, with the 28-year-old’s talks about a new deal progressing poorly… Atletico Madrid are prepared to offer up to £50m for Chelsea’s 28-year-old striker Diego Costa…. Costa has turned down loan offers from Shanghai SIPG and Tianjin Quanjian that would have earned him £13m between now and November… Manchester City are ready to pay Arsenal £70m for their 28-year-old forward Alexis Sanchez… City will offer Sanchez a contract worth £400,000 a week…Liverpool’s hopes of signing Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, 26, could be thwarted by Juventus… Paris St-Germain have finally reached agreement with Monaco over the 200m euro (£182m) signing of their 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe… Newcastle are considering making a bid for their former striker Andy Carroll, 28, now with West Ham.