Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre says a "big reduction" in price made it possible to finally complete a high-profile move for Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who will have to wait to make his Blaugrana debut after confirmation that he will be sidelined for approximately another three weeks due to injury.
After a long-running saga that threatened to dominate two successive transfer windows, Coutinho was officially unveiled as a Barcelona player at the Nou Camp on Monday (8 January) after undergoing a two-part medical and signing a five-and-a-half year contract that contains a release clause worth €400m (£353m, $479.1m).
The two clubs announced over the weekend that they had reached an agreement on a deal worth up to £142m that follows the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain as the second-most expensive transfer in football history.
Barcelona initially tried hard to sign Coutinho during the summer, with the player even submitting a transfer request to attempt to force a "dream" move.
However, their opening three bids - the largest of which was said to be valued at around £113m - were all dismissed as Liverpool initially remained adamant that they were not interested in parting with one of their top assets for any sum.
Barcelona's subsequent claims that their Premier League counterparts made an attempt to sell Coutinho for a fee of €200m in the final hours before the Spanish summer deadline were rebuffed.
"The interest of the club has always been to sign Coutinho," Mestre said during Coutinho's introductory press conference, per the Liverpool Echo. "The difference with the summer is that there has been a big reduction in the price. By desire of Liverpool, we cannot give the figures, but there has been a very important reduction.
"If I said something, it would be to break the pact we have with Liverpool. It's bad for me but we cannot give any figures."
Mestre is also said to have made reference to Coutinho's "personal and financial effort" amid reports that he paid £11.5m of his own money in order to help secure the transfer.
Eyebrows were inevitably raised when Coutinho missed Liverpool's opening matches of 2018 against Burnley and Everton with an apparent thigh problem. However, any lingering doubts over the validity of the injury were quickly extinguished as Barcelona revealed that an issue detected in his right thigh during the medical was expected to keep him out for another three weeks.
The 25-year-old therefore looks certain to miss La Liga fixtures against Real Sociedad and Real Betis in addition to the second leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 clash with Celta Vigo on Thursday, but could be involved when Ernesto Valverde's dominant leaders host struggling Alaves on 28 January.
Alternatively, Coutinho, now reunited with former Reds teammate Luis Suarez in Catalonia, could make his debut on 4 February against former loan club Espanyol in the derbi barceloni. He will be ineligible for the two-legged Champions League last-16 tie against Chelsea and indeed for the remainder of this season's edition of the tournament having already represented Liverpool during the group stages.
"I was always clear from the beginning and I want to thank everyone who understood what my desire was," Coutinho said of leaving Anfield after a five-year spell that saw him score 54 goals and provide 46 assists in 201 appearances but win no trophies. "I want to thank everyone at Liverpool and I want to get playing again.
"I gave everything I could. Unfortunately they couldn't win but I lived there for five years, my family was very happy there, I would like to thank them again."