x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 November 2017

WATCH: Barcelona refused to meet Liverpool's €200m asking price for Philippe Coutinho, would have 'put club at risk'

Primera Liga club's board are under mounting pressure following a summer transfer window that saw Neymar leave and a failure to acquire their top target.

Philippe Coutinho, centre, is with Brazil and scored the second goal in a 2-0 win over Ecuador to ensure passage to the 2018 World Cup. Andre Penner / AP Photo
Philippe Coutinho, centre, is with Brazil and scored the second goal in a 2-0 win over Ecuador to ensure passage to the 2018 World Cup. Andre Penner / AP Photo

A leading Barcelona board member has said Liverpool set an asking price of €200 million (Dh871.2m) for midfielder Philippe Coutinho as the Catalan giants criticised the rampant inflation in the football transfer market on Saturday.

Albert Soler, Barca's director of institutional relations, said the club's board would not put the future of the institution at risk by bending to excessive demands.

"Liverpool put a price of €200m on a player that we wanted," Soler said at a press conference held to explain Barcelona's summer transfer policy that has come in for criticism from the club's fans.

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Barca ended the window making a slight profit on transfers after receiving a world record €222m from Neymar's move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite splashing over €190m on five signings, most notably €105m on 20-year-old French winger Ousmane Dembele, Soler claimed Barca wouldn't been drawn into an arms race with the cash-rich Premier League and PSG.

"We didn't want to put at risk the heritage of the club. This is a club of 150,000 members and has to be managed with coherence and responsiblity," Soler said. "We won't get involved in the game of a market that has lost its way.

"This board won't put the club at risk. Uefa and the European Clubs Association (ECA) have to reflect and make a decision."

Liverpool did not publicly respond on Saturday but a source familiar with the situation said Barcelona's claim was false and that no value was put on Coutinho because he was never for sale. Liverpool maintain that Barcelona were always aware of this.

Uefa announced on Friday that PSG will be investigated for a potential breach of financial fair play (FFP) rules after adding Kylian Mbappe to the capture of Neymar from Monaco in a deal that could rise to €180m.

Soler dismissed claims that Barca's status as one of the world's leading clubs is being threatened by their inability or unwillingness to match the lavish spending of other clubs.

"We haven't lost any international status for having common sense and not putting the financial viability of the club at risk," he said.

Barca also insist that five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi will soon sign a new contract, tying him to the club until 2021. The club announced the agreement of the deal with Messi, 30, on July 5, but the Argentine has yet to formally put pen to paper.

"I want to send a message of calm to the members. There is no problem," Solesaid. "When the club announced an agreement it is validated by both parties. All that is lacking is the protocol."