Report: Liverpool to sue over Nike's Coutinho-Barcelona gaffe, set to increase asking price
What's the story?
Liverpool are all set to go to court over the premature and ill-timed announcement of Philippe Coutinho's move to Barcelona on the website of the La Liga club's kit manufacturer Nike. The Brazilian midfielder had been a target for the Catalan club all summer but the Reds had refused to sell their star.
ESPN Brazil report that the club were very unhappy with the fact that Coutinho's name had appeared on a page of their website where one could buy the Barcelona kit and that they are prepared to take legal action over it.
Now, according to The Telegraph, that blunder could also see the Anfield club raise Coutinho's price tag beyond the £115m they had rejected in August 2017.
Noted journalist Marcelo Bechler also claimed that Barcelona could submit a formal bid on 1 January and were hoping to close the deal within three days before La Liga resumes next weekend.
In case you didn't know...
On 30 December, Nike had mistakenly announced on their website that fans could buy the Barcelona kit with Coutinho's name on the back. They had even made an announcement claiming personalisation would be free for a limited time.
That page was available in various languages and regions before it was taken down an hour later by Nike. But by then the damage was already done. The fact that Coutinho also has a contract with the sportswear giant only exacerbated the problem.
Nike also refused to make any comment on the error. There is no confirmation on whether the page was launched prematurely or whether the page was hacked.
The heart of the matter
Coutinho is still very much a Liverpool player - especially after Jurgen Klopp refused to entertain any amount of money Barcelona offered for his services in the summer. The La Liga club made as many as three bids, with the final bid coming up to £115m, but the Anfield side refused to budge.
However, Coutinho is looking to move to Barcelona and had 'gone on strike' at the start of the season claiming he had a bad back. But once the transfer window closed, he was available and has since scored 12 goals and grabbed 8 assists for Liverpool in the Premier League and Champions League.
Video: The best of Philippe Coutinho
As much as he is loved at Anfield, there is no stopping this move. While Coutinho will be cup-tied in the Champions League, it doesn't seem to stop him from having dreams of joining Barcelona as soon as possible. The player himself remains non-commital when asked about his future at Liverpool.
This gaffe from Nike is a big one and Barcelona may not be able to do damage control when Liverpool up the asking price. The Premier League side have every right to be livid with Nike and Barcelona and the La Liga club may now have to pay more than they did for club record signing Ousmane Dembele who came for a fee that could potentially rise to £135.5m.