Confusion reigned on Saturday evening after Nike appeared to confirm news of Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona – before quickly and quietly deleting it.
Coutinho has long been linked with a move to Barcelona, and was the subject of three failed bids from the Catalan side in the summer.
The Brazilian also had a transfer request rejected by Liverpool, but has since proven his dedication to the Anfield cause.
He has scored 12 goals and assisted nine in 20 games in all competitions, but Barca are expected to renew their interest as early as January.
And Nike, Barca’s shirt manufacturers, stoked the speculation by advertising the club’s 2017/18 shirt with Coutinho’s name.
‘Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. Get your 2017-18 FC Barcelona kit with the Magician’s name on it. Act fast – free personalisation only available until January 6,’ read the message on their English website, while it also appeared on their Portuguese, Spanish and Italian versions among others.
Nike hastily deleted the message after it circulated on social media, but made no comment as to the nature of their error.
This graphic promoting Coutinho as a Barcelona player is on the Nike website…and when you type his name into the search engine on the site, it takes you to the Barca section! Even if he’s going, that’s bad form #LFC pic.twitter.com/7qPFAYtLyf
— Kevin Palmer (@RealKevinPalmer) December 31, 2017