Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has called for respect to be shown to Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho amid mounting reports that the Liverpool player will move to Barcelona this month.
Barcelona bid three times for Coutinho last summer but Liverpool refused to even consider the idea of selling the player. However, it is now thought that the club have changed their position with numerous reports saying that a deal is very close.
Speaking last week Valverde refused to be drawn on the reports but was also careful not to deny that a move is possible.
Barcelona would probably have to break their transfer record, of €145 million for Ousmane Dembele, to sign Coutinho this month. However, with the team currently doing well in all competitions Valverde was asked if there is any pressing need to bring Coutinho before the summer.
All Valverde would answer is, “I have nothing to say on Coutinho. He is not our player, he plays for another team. Let’s respect the club that he belongs to and respect him, too.”
The manager was also asked about the future of Samuel Umtiti as reports have emerged suggesting that Manchester City are prepared to pay the defender’s €60 million buyout clause. One again Valverde wouldn’t be drawn and said, “What’s clear is that Umtiti is a great player and I hope we can continue to enjoy him here for many more years.”
Barcelona signed Umtiti from Lyon for just €25 million in 2016 and he quickly became a key member of the team. However, his buyout clause seems to be low. Nonetheless, Valverde pointed out that a player has to want to leave for the buyout clause to be taken advantage of and that Umtit seems to be happy where he is.