Liverpool will reportedly ramp up their asking price for Philippe Coutinho after being left ‘infuriated’ by Barcelona’s shirt manufacturers Nike.
Coutinho was left out of the Liverpool squad to face Burnley on New Year’s Day – you can see how events unfold here.
The La Liga giants have long courted the Brazilian playmaker, having seen three bids – the latter totalling £115million – rejected for him over the summer.
And with Barcelona expected to make a renewed bid to sign him in January, the possible deal appeared to have been pre-empted by the Spanish club’s kit manufacturer Nike, who announced the Brazilian’s imminent arrival at the Nou Camp on their website and were even marketing the opportunity to buy Barcelona shirts with Coutinho’s name on it.
While the advert was quickly removed, the damage had already been done with the message on the Nike website reading: ‘Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. Get your 2017/8 FC Barcelona kit with the Magician’s name on it. Act fast – free personalisation only available until January 6.’
Understandably, Liverpool are said to be furious with the advert; a mood which has since worsened by the lack of an explanation by either Barcelona and Nike.
As such, the Daily Telegraph reports that Liverpool will now demand an ‘astronomical’ fee for the 25-year-old before they even consider selling. It was believed the Reds had been more open to the idea of letting the player leave than they were in the summer, but only on their terms, and with the club looking more towards a summer departure, rather than in the January window.
But any deal – whether this month or in the summer – is now likely to hit Barcelona in the pocket with the Reds ready to ramp up their asking price on the back of the blunder.