Barcelona have sent in officials in order to hold talks with Liverpool over the possibility of a £89million deal for Philippe Coutinho, according to Mundo Deportivo. It would represent an astronomical sum of money for a player who cost just £8.5million five years ago. Yet, Liverpool would not want to lose the Brazilian at a crucial stage in the club’s progress.
Barcelona are now desperate to sign a player to replace Neymar, as it became apparent that the Brazilian would make the move to PSG for a new world record transfer fee of £198million. Neymar has been given the permission to miss training, and Barcelona need not hold any negotiations with PSG, as this figure represents his release clause (BBC Sport).
Liverpool have already stated that Coutinho is not for sale, but those statements were made when we were being offered around £72million for the player (Telegraph). Now, Barcelona are expected to significantly step up their interest in the 25-year-old, now that Neymar’s move is completed. Barcelona will be able to guarantee Coutinho a starting spot along with a much bigger wage packet than the £150,000 per week he makes – albeit as the highest earning player at the club.
According to Daily Star, Barcelona have sent a delegation to Merseyside to complete a deal as early as possible with a view of unveiling him to the Barca fans on Monday.
While the club do have five years left on Coutinho’s contract, manager Jurgen Klopp will be the first to admit that an unhappy player is almost worthless to the club. Hence, the possibility of the transfer may not hinge on the transfer fee placed on the table. Instead, it would depend on Coutinho and his wish to join Barcelona. Being a Brazilian, it is highly unlikely that he will turn down the Catalan club. Over the years, Barcelona has become ‘the destination’ for top Brazilians, with the likes of Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, and Romario wearing the shirts earlier.
South American football expert Tim Vickery is of the opinion that Coutinho would be a perfect fit for Barcelona (Sky Sports) and it is not surprising to see the Catalan club being ready to offer close to £89million for the player. Liverpool previously sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona for around £75million back in 2014 (BBC Sport).
Hopefully, Coutinho will not be sold by Liverpool. Fingers crossed!