Editor’s Column: Time to give Barcelona a taste of their own medicine…

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Javier Mascherano in 2010. Luis Suarez in 2014. Coutinho in 2018.

The four year cycle of Liverpool’s best South Americans being ruthlessly tapped up to the point of no return and then transferred to Barcelona.

When Coutinho was sold to Los Cules three years back, Michael Edwards even inserted a clause into the deal that meant an extra £50m-odd would be added onto the transfer fee of any Red that followed him to Camp Nou over the next 24 months.

All three deals followed the same pattern. Illegal approaches, underhand tactics and an unsettling of the players involved to the point them staying at Anfield became impossible.

Barca aren’t the only team who do this. We did it with Virgil van Dijk, but their repeated actions still stung and created a bitterness towards the Spanish giants.

With the Coutinho deal, they behaved appallingly. They accidentally on purpose started selling ‘Coutinho 7’ shirts on the club website before they’d even had a bid accepted – and did a video call with fans in which current players spoke openly about how much they’d want him in their side.

Of course, we had the last laugh – winning the Champions League and Premier League in his absence – thanks largely to the money and recruits we acquired as a result of the sale – while his stock has fallen dramatically. Be careful what you wish for, eh?

Barca paid an insane amount of money for Coutinho, £145m, roughly – which is quite symbolic of the shambolic nature of the way they’ve run themselves financially over the past five years.

Ousmane Dembele, another flop, also cost well over £100m, as did Antione Griezmann, whose wage packet is a rumoured £800k/week.

They’re in dire straits. La Liga chairman Javier Tebas set up in 2013 a financial system of regulation that is not dissimilar to UEFA’s FFP, but crucially different in that its rules are actually enforced. Right now, the four players they brought to the club this summer, including Sergio Aguero, are not allowed to be registered until the club pays back some of its monstrous debt.

As Dermot Corrigan explains in the Athletic, ‘As things stand, La Liga will not allow them to register the four players they have signed this summer — unless they first make savings of over €200 million elsewhere.’

Barca want their players to take wage cuts. They won’t, so the club essentially needs to sell a number of stars to balance the books – especially considering the fact they also need to re-sign Lionel Messi – the world’s highest paid player – who is technically currently a free agent.

So, what’s all this got to do with Liverpool? Potentially nothing – but Edwards and his transfer team are smart and increasingly ruthless – and they’ll be more than aware of the possibility of securing a bargain at the hands of a rival.

You can say lots about FSG, but they’ve run Liverpool responsibly financially, never spending outside of our means – and it’s this that may allow us to take advantage of Barca’s shocking mistakes.


Will Barca want to sell? Absolutely not… 

The future jewell in Barca’s crown and an absolute superstar. He’d be worth paying £100m for, easily – but even with their hands tied behind their back – Barca won’t sell the Spain midfielder. This one, as nice as it would be, is likely impossible.

Ansu Fati

Will Barca want to sell? Absolutely not… 

In many ways, this is the same situation as Pedri. He’d be perfect for us – an exciting wing-forward who could rotate with the front-three and develop under their tutelage – but we still don’t think they’d consider offloading Fati until they were absolutely forced to.

Antione Griezmann

Will Barca want to sell? Definitely…

His wages are insane, but so is his ability. He’s constantly flirted with Roberto Firmino on social media for years – and he’s the kind of hybrid forward who’d thrive at Liverpool. We don’t think Jurgen Klopp though would want to replace one of our ageing forwards with another in his thirties – that would defeat the purpose.


Will Barca want to sell? Definitely…

It would almost be funny how cheap we could get Coutinho. He’s still got incredible ability. He’d jump at the chance of a move – and there’s a part of us which would enjoy the romanticism of the return. But he made his bed and Klopp won’t let him back at Anfield – likely as a warning to others of what happens when you get off his train.

Ousmane Dembele

Will Barca want to sell? Probably…

What a talent. And Klopp loves him, too. We know all that. His injury record though is horrendous; and there are multiple stories about a questionable attitude. But Liverpool need a versatile wing-forward with something to prove and bags of potential. He ticks these boxes – this is one we’d actually be all over.

Frenkie de Jong

Will Barca want to sell? Absolutely not… 

Phenomenal little midfielder, and the fulcrum of Ronald Koeman’s side. He’d make our midfield even more exciting alongside the equally technically exceptional Thiago. Would be another £100m+ transfer fee, though, and it’s unrealistic. Would be pretty great, though!

Miralem Pjanic

Will Barca want to sell? Definitely…

Barca would let us have Pjanic, a not-long-ago regarded as world-class midfielder, for nothing. The fact they paid Juventus £50m plus Arthur for the Bosnian, now 31, is farcical. He’s a lovely footballer, but probably doesn’t have the physicality or defensive nous required for our central three.

So – there you have it. Of this list, we reckon Dembele is the most likely candidate if Liverpool wish to take advantage of Barca’s perilous position – but just imagine if there’s a wildcard option of a Pedri or a Fati. If they want off the sinking ship of Barca, Klopp’s buoyant Liverpool could be a nice alternative!

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  1. I agree with Joseph. We need to aggressively chase Pedri. One of the huge advantage would have is if we offered say £60-70m AND MADE IT PUBLIC. Barca would be under massive pressure to sell, not only to balance the books but because the young Spaniards contract expires in June 2022. Come on FSG do your stuff YNWA

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