Barcelona signed Coutinho at reduced price, says vice-president

Philippe Coutinho became the third most expensive player in football history when he signed a five-and-a-half year contract with Barca on Monday.

Barcelona's new Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho shows his new jersey before holding a press conference in Barcelona on 8 January 2018. Picture: AFP.

BARCELONA - Barcelona signed midfielder Philippe Coutinho because they were given a significant discount on the price Liverpool were asking for him in the last transfer window, vice-president Jordi Mestre said on Monday.

Coutinho became the third most expensive player in football history when he signed a five-and-a-half year contract with Barca on Monday following a €160 million deal between the clubs.

Barcelona director Albert Soler said in September the club abandoned their pursuit of the Brazilian playmaker last year because Liverpool were asking for €200 million.

“The club has always been interested in signing Coutinho, the difference to last summer is that there was a big cut in price,” Mestre told reporters on Monday at Coutinho’s official presentation.

“We won’t state the numbers because Liverpool don’t want us to, but there was a big price cut.”

Meanwhile, Coutinho will not be able to make his Barcelona debut for about three weeks because of a thigh injury he sustained while at Liverpool.

The Brazilian playmaker passed a medical on Monday during which Barcelona doctors analysed the injury that kept him out of Liverpool’s Premier League win over Burnley on 1 January.

“Coutinho has an injury in his right thigh. He will be out for 20 days,” Barcelona said in a statement, meaning he is likely to make his debut in the Catalan derby against Espanyol on 4 February.