Barcelona & Coutinho
After a shedload of talk and speculation, FC Barcelona have pulled the trigger.
According to widespread reports on Friday morning, Barca have tabled an official bid for Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho.
The Catalans have offered the Reds £72 million for their Brazilian playmaker, and that bid has been viewed through the prism of Neymar’s possible Camp Nou exit to PSG. As explained in the Times:
The 25-year-old is viewed as a potential replacement for Andres Iniesta, 33, who is entering the final year of his contract at the Nou Camp, but the move comes at a time when Paris Saint-Germain are trying to sign Neymar, the Barcelona forward, in what would be a record deal.
While Barca have made their move, Liverpool have replied instantly.
The Times report that Liverpool have rejected Barca’s Coutinho bid, and the Reds plan to stonewall any future offers as well. Readers learn:
The Catalan giants have tracked Coutinho for the past six months but Liverpool maintain that their talisman, who signed a new five-year contract last season, will not be allowed to leave even if Barcelona return with a higher offer.
Coutinho’s new deal at Anfield has no release clause, meaning Liverpool are in a strong position to retain their South American star.
Liverpool’s stance towards Barcelona as the La Liga giants target Coutinho, mirrors RB Leipzig’s stance in dealing with the Reds as they try to sign Naby Keita.
In both cases, RB Leipzig and Liverpool are attempting to hold onto their star players in the face of mega offers from bigger clubs.