There are bad starts to the season and then there’s Barcelona’s start to the season.
Despite their status as one of the world’s biggest club, the Catalans are entering the first weekend of La Liga in something of a mess. It’s been a downhill trajectory ever since their £196 million concession of Neymar.
The world record fee they received seems to have arrived too late for the club to truly flex their muscles in the transfer window. Yet their Spanish Super Cup performances suggest they need to do just that.
Ousame Dembele and especially Philippe Coutinho have emerged as the leading targets for Blaugrana this summer.
However, it’s been publicised just how reluctant Liverpool are when it comes to selling their star man. The Reds have been peppered with bids from Barça with the third and latest weighing in at £118 million.
Liverpool have thus far stood by the statement of their owners with Fenway Sports Group reiterating last week that he would not be sold.
And while Barcelona have continued to up their bids, they have done themselves no favours with their recent behavior. It will be leaving the 25-year-old himself frustrated too after his recent transfer request.
Barça’s most recent offer was littered with bizarre conditions, as per the Mirror. These even went as far as demanding Coutinho scooped the Ballon d’Or for Liverpool to receive the full transfer fee.
Wow – how to completely undermine your own bid in a nutshell.
Barcelona haven’t finished there, though, and it seems their negotiation skills are severely lacking. According to Paul Joyce of The Times, Blaugrana have set a deadline so ridiculous that the Liverpool board are utterly bemused.
He wrote: “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.
"The Catalan club, in all their wisdom, informed Anfield officials that they have until Sunday evening to change their mind, and belatedly accept the offer, or it will be withdrawn.
“In other words, a bid Liverpool have twice told Barcelona not to make is instantly rebuffed and their rivals’ next move is to threaten to take it off the table.
“Finally in this saga, the Camp Nou club has managed to do something which served as a source of amusement for Liverpool’s power brokers.”
It seems Barcelona have lowered their standards in their recent desperation. But afterReal Madrid’s comfortable 5-1 aggregate win, you can’t exactly fault them for trying.
If the Spaniards stand by their deadline - put the champagne on ice, Kopites.
How much do you think Philippe Coutinho is worth? Drop your comments below