Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Transfer To Barcelona Accidentally Confirmed By Nike
Philippe Coutinho’s "long-anticipated" transfer to Barcelona has been confirmed -- "although it was by mistake on Nike’s official website," according to Jack Austin of the London INDEPENDENT. The Liverpool player was the subject of three bids from Barça in the summer and "even handed in a transfer request in order to try and push through the deal" but Liverpool "held firm" and Coutinho remained at Anfield. Since the summer window closed, Barcelona suggested it would "come back" for the 25-year-old in January. Barcelona's kit sponsor, Nike, "appeared to jump the gun on the transfer" with a post on its website advertising its '17-18 shirt with Coutinho's name on the back. Nike wrote, "Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. Get your 2017/18 FC Barcelona kit with the Magician's name on it. Act fast -- free personalisation only available until 6 January." The post has since been taken down by Nike but it only "further fuels the belief" the deal will go through in the January window rather than in the summer (INDEPENDENT, 12/31). In London, Chris Bascombe reported Liverpool will demand an "astronomical" fee for Coutinho after Nike was "guilty of an extraordinary marketing blunder." The promotion -- linked via Barcelona’s own website -- was "removed within an hour." Despite the advertisement, it was "not possible to buy the jersey." Nike offered no comment or "explanation for the gaffe." The "arrogance surrounding the advert fuelled the sense of intrigue" (TELEGRAPH, 1/1). In London, Richard Jolly reported Liverpool Manager Jürgen Klopp "shrugged off Barcelona’s interest" in Coutinho as he insisted "he did not care" that shirts with the Brazilian’s name on it had been advertised by the Catalan club’s kit manufacturer. Klopp pronounced himself "unworried" by the latest indication that Barcelona may renew its interest in Coutinho, saying, "I couldn't be less interested in anything in the world but somebody told me and I thought, 'Wow'" (GUARDIAN, 1/2).