Speaking to Spanish TV, Barca’s president revealed Liverpool refused to negotiate on the Brazil international and believes this is due to the inflation caused by Neymar’s £200m move to Paris Saint-Germain.
“I will not say how much we offered, but [Liverpool] asked for 200m euros” said Bartomeu.
“We weren’t going to give €200m or €150m – we decided to step away from such an expensive market, our offer was less than €100m, with add-ons it could have reached €120m.
“Money has come into football from outside the game and made [the transfer market] more expensive, which explains what happened with Coutinho.
“We have to make these investments in La Masia and the club’s academy, we must respect the rules.
“This is why I am happy with the investigation into PSG, which is a request made by European clubs.
“Neymar? Officially, we learned he was leaving when he told us…at the end of July we saw things weren’t going well, but his father told us it was nothing.
“We believed his father’s word but there should have been more honesty, but we need to be self-criticism.”
Barcelona spent £97m from the sale of Neymar on Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, but he now faces four months out after sustaining a thigh injury during Saturday’s win at Getafe.