Barcelona's transfer dealings leaked: Details of Dembele deal and Coutinho pursuit revealed
Football Leaks have been in the news a lot recently and this time they have leaked e-mails and documents related to transfer of Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund and the club's failure to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool.
Working with German newspaper Der Spiegel, Football Leaks revealed that earlier claims about Liverpool demanding at least €200m (£183m) to give the green light for Coutinho's transfer were false.
Barcelona made multiple bids for Coutinho
When the La Liga club first approached Liverpool to sign Coutinho, the Anfield side put their foot down and claimed he was not for sale.
The first bid for the Brazilian midfielder was made in July. Barcelona offered to pay the Reds approximately £72m for the 25-year-old but the bid was rejected on 20 July. Liverpool clearly mentioned that the player was not for sale at any price.
Liverpool Sporting Director Michael Edwards wrote in an e-mail: "Unfortunately, Philippe can not be sold at any price and, as you know, he has recently extended his contract with us."
Coutinho had extended his contract with Liverpool in January this year. It extended his stay at Anfield till 2022 and there was no release clause inserted in his contract.
Not to be denied a chance to sign him, Barcelona returned with an improved bid in August. This time they offered to pay the club not only £90m but also an extra £40m in bonuses.
At this point, Edwards changed his tone and turned down their offer claiming no sum of money would change their mind.
"I ask you amicably to stop harassing Coutinho publicly and privately," he replied. "No amount of money will change our minds."
The leaked report also claimed that had Coutinho joined Barcelona, he would have earned £101m over five years at the Camp Nou.
Dembele's transfer agreement leaked
Although Barcelona failed to sign Coutinho, they did manage to prise Ousmane Dembele away from Borussia Dortmund. The young Frenchman had impressed in the 2016/17 season and the Catalan club needed a player to replace Neymar who had moved to PSG for a world record fee of €222m.
Dembele had gone missing in pre-season and it became obvious that he was trying to force through a move to Barcelona. At first, Dortmund refused to deal with Barca but soon caved in.
However, they were not going to let go of one of their prized assets unless they made a handsome profit on the France international they had signed only a year before for a fee of approximately €15m.
Dembele was signed by Barcelona for a fee of €105m with €40m in potential add-ons. However, the transfer fee was not paid in full up front.
The fee will be paid in two installments. Barcelona paid €70m to secure his services now. But they will pay the additional €35m only in July 2018 (effectively the next season as the current season ends on 30 June 2018).
The bonuses worth €40m are split as follows:
1) €5m for every 25 games he plays. This applies to multiples of 25 (i.e. 50 games, 75 games, and 100 games). They are bound to pay a maximum of €20m only.
2) €5m for every Champions League title Barcelona win (paying no more than €10m).
3) €5m for every La Liga title Barcelona win (paying no more than €10m).
Unfortunately for Barcelona, Dembele suffered a hamstring injury in a La Liga game against Getafe on his full La Liga debut. He is expected to spend three to four months on the sidelines and had to fly to Finland to undergo surgery on his tendon.
The injury will see Barcelona without his services for the rest of the Champions League group stage matches while he will also miss crucial La Liga fixtures against Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia.
Whether he will make a full recovery before El Clasico against Real Madrid on 20 December remains to be seen.