Joey Barton has little sympathy for Liverpool in the ongoing transfer saga surrounding Philippe Coutinho, believing the Brazilian will ultimately depart Anfield for Barcelona.
The Reds have fought back the advancements of the La Liga giants since the transfer window opened, most recently rejecting a £113 million bid which reportedly had a deadline of Sunday.
However, Barton expects that Barcelona will continue to target Coutinho, claiming that the 25-year-old would want to follow in the footsteps of fellow Brazilian football icons who have also played at the Camp Nou.
“He (Coutinho) wants out, and if you’re getting up to what are they now, almost £120m, it just looks like how much rather than if or when,” he said on a talkSPORT radio show.
“He’s not a Scouser, he’s a Brazilian. He’s already living a fair distance away from home and he’s probably grown up wanting to play for Barcelona. No disrespect to Liverpool, but that’s the club Brazilian youngsters grow up wanting to play for nowadays.
“It’s not the Liverpool of the 80s, it’s Liverpool who haven’t won a title for over 20 years, so you can’t blame the boy.
“As I said, it’s just a case of how much and at what moment he goes.”
Currently contracted to fellow Premier League side Burnley, Barton believes the Merseysiders could have prepared themselves better for the possibility that Coutinho would leave.
“Liverpool should have preempted this,” he added.
“They should have known a big club was going to come sniffing for him and, although he’s difficult to replace, they should have had replacements lined up for him.”