The second most expensive transfer in football history, that of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool to Barcelona, almost had a twist in the tale. The Premier League club requested that as part of the deal, the player would stay with The Reds until the end of the season on loan.
Coutinho back to Anfield on loan requested
According to AS sources, top executives at Fenway Sports Group, the American company that owns Liverpool FC, asked Josep María Bartomeu, president of Barça, to hand back Coutinho until the end of the season, with the idea being that he could help Liverpool in the final stretch of the league and in the Champions League latter stages. This request was made near the conclusion of the deal between the two clubs that saw the Brazilian move to Spain for 160 million euros (including clauses).
Barça wanted full and complete transfer
The Barça president did not see this as a viable option. With Liverpool looking at difficulties to sign Thomas Lemar (Monaco) or bring forward the summer arrival of Naby Keita (RB Leipzig), maintaining the services of Coutinho would have boosted their challenge at home and abroad - and with Barça seemingly having LaLiga well under control and the player ineligible for Europe, many saw it as a logical plan. At the Camp Nou, though, the decision was clear. They wanted a full and complete transfer so refused the American request.