Thursday 19 October 2017

Barcelona admit defeat in pursuit of Philippe Coutinho but will try again for Liverpool playmaker in 2018

Philippe Coutinho (11) of Brazil celebrates his goal against Ecuador with teammate Willian. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
Philippe Coutinho (11) of Brazil celebrates his goal against Ecuador with teammate Willian. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Evan Bartlett

Barcelona appear to have finally admitted defeat in their pursuit of Philippe Coutinho this summer but hope to land the Liverpool playmaker in 2018.

The 25-year-old has been one of the Catalan club's prime targets this summer after the loss of Neymar to PSG for a world record fee last month.

Liverpool, however, have refused to budge in the face of several bids in excess of £100m.

According to the latest reports in Spain, Barcelona tabled one final offer of €160m (£146m) on Thursday but Liverpool have told them "definitively no".

Barcelona have nevertheless been trying their hardest once again on Friday, with the transfer window staying open for 24 hours longer in Spain than in England, but Liverpool have "not had their arm twisted", according to Sport.

The paper claims Liverpool may be open to selling Coutinho after the World Cup in Russia next summer however.

Furthermore, they say there is an outside hope among the Camp Nou hierarchy and Coutinho's team that a deal similar to the one Liverpool have agreed with RB Leipzig for Naby Keita could be put in place at the last minute on Friday.

That agreement will see the Guinea international move to Anfield next summer after playing another full season in the Bundesliga.

Coutinho has tried his best to secure a move away - handing in a written email request last month - and missing all of Liverpool's games so far this season.

The back injury that had been hampering the playmaker disappeared this week however as Coutinho was called up for international duty and he came off the bench to score as Brazil beat Ecuador 2-0.

After the game, Neymar explained his teammate was "living in a moment of great sadness".

It looks as though that will last at least another 12 months.

Independent News Service

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