The transfer of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona is shaping up to be one of the biggest talking points of this summer’s transfer window. Here is the story so far.
The links of Coutinho moving to Barcelona are nothing new, with the player having being linked with a move tot the Nou Camp for a number of months, where it was thought that fellow Brazilian, Neymar, had recommended him to the Catalans a where he would play alongside his friend at both International and club level.
However, the transfer speculation rally moved up a gear last week when Neymar completed the shock and unexpected move to Paris Saint-Germain for £198m. Coutinho was no longer being talked about as a potential team mate of Ligue 1’s new star, but as his replacement.
Before Neymar left for Paris, Barcelona submitted a £72m bid for Liverpool’s star player. This was swiftly rejected leaving Jurgen Klopp to declare Coutinho was not for sale.
Since Neymar’s departure, the speculation surrounding his replacements have gone into overdrive, with both Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele looking like the most likely of candidates to move to the La Liga giants.
Barcelona improved their offer for Coutinho to £90million, an offer which was reportedly rejected as quickly as it arrived by Liverpool.
Not for sale
The speculation surrounding Coutinho has really sprung into life over the course of the last 48 hours following the latest rejection.
Jurgen Klopp once again insisted on Thursday that Coutinho was not available for transfer.
Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG) also backed up their managers claims by releasing a statement to the media, also expressing their plans not to sell.
“The club’s definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered and he will remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer window closes.”
Coutinho was believed to be keen on a move to Barcelona, but wanted to do so in an amicable manner to maintain his good relationship with the Liverpool fans. However his clubs refusal to negotiate has forced him to hand in an official transfer request.
A family member close to the Brazilian told Sky Sports:
“Coutinho has tried very hard to find an amicable solution to this but failed so far. Coutinho has tremendous love for Liverpool fans but like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have pointed out in the past, Liverpool do not let players leave on amicable terms”
So what next?
Liverpool still have the vast majority of the power in this saga, and have reportedly rejected Coutinho’s transfer request.
However, with the player now making it public knowledge that he wants to leave, it now seems much more likely that the deal will happen. The bookmakers make Coutinho 1/2 to be a Barcelona player by the end of the transfer window, while are 6/4 to still be at Liverpool.
Reports have previously suggested that Barcelona are willing to pay up to £110m, a deal which would make him the second most expensive player in the history of the game. Is that an offer Liverpool can afford to refuse?
Where will Coutinho be playing his football at the end of the transfer window? Is he right to have handed in a transfer request, despite only signing a new deal in January? Should Liverpool continue to dig their heels in? How much is he realistically worth in this market? Scroll down and leave us a comment in the box below.