Lionel Messi Forced to Diffuse Pay Row as Barcelona Close in on Philippe Coutinho

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has been forced to calm down his fellow teammates after a pay dispute broke out over the proposed signing of Philippe Coutinho.

The Liverpool midfielder looks set to join the Catalan giants in this transfer window after months of speculation regarding his future, with Barca optimistic of sealing the deal in the coming weeks.

However, Spanish outlet Diario Gol claim that Messi, and club captain Andres Iniesta, have intervened after several players expressed their frustration at Coutinho’s reported wages should he join.

It is believed that whilst the majority of the squad are excited by Coutinho’s imminent arrival, some feel that the club is paying over the odds for him and that he is not worthy of such a salary.

After hearing of the rumblings, it is believed that both Messi and Iniesta tried to diffuse the situation by speaking to the players and insisting they focus on their football.

The Liverpool midfielder is reportedly set to earn a salary of around £10.5m per year, a figure that will see the 25-year old earn more than the majority of Barcelona’s squad.

Gerard Pique is one player rumoured to have queried the logic behind paying Coutinho more than him, with team-mate Messi reportedly telling the Spaniard to focus on football, and not on economics.

Barca’s interest has reignited in Coutinho after several failed approaches last summer. The Brazilian has scored seven goals for Liverpool in the Premier League so far this season, also notching seven assists in the process.

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