Barcelona preparing final Philippe Coutinho offer...with a lavish up-front payment to tempt Liverpool - reports
Barcelona are expected to launch a fourth and final bid to sign Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho imminently and their latest offer may finally take the up-front payment beyond the £100m mark in an overall deal worth a staggering £138m.
After Liverpool turned down a third bid for their Brazilian midfielder last week that was believed to feature an £83m up front fee and further payments that could have taken the deal close to £120m, Sky Sports and Spanish outlets are reporting that the new offer will include an initial £101m fee.
That figure may test the resolve of the Liverpool board, amid suggestions earlier this month that they may be tempted to cash in on Coutinho if the £100m barrier was broken by Barcelona.
While their bid last week was believed to have featured a host of potential add-ons that may not have been realistic, this new offer is tipped to feature a payment every time Barcelona quality for the Champions League group stages, which is almost a certainty.
If this offer is lodged, the Liverpool board have to make a final call on Coutinho's future, with former Reds striker John Aldridge among those insisting they have to reject any deal so late in the transfer window.
"What could Liverpool realistically do in the next 10 days with that money to replace a player of Coutinho’s quality? Nothing, it’s as simple as that.
"If all this had blown up a couple of months back, maybe Liverpool could have sold the player for a fee in excess of £100m and got down to the business of replacing him," stated Aldridge.
"Now, that option has been taken off the table. If Coutinho goes, Liverpool would have a nightmare challenge of trying to sign players from clubs who don’t need or want to sell, while they will also know they can bump any selling price up with all that cash flowing into the Anfield coffers.
"Imagine if Coutinho left and the club fails to sign players to replace him, the fans will go mad! So the board just can’t let that happen and I’m sure they don’t need me to tell them that.”
With Coutinho refusing to play for Liverpool as he continues to push for a transfer after handing in a transfer request earlier this month, this transfer saga now appears to be reaching a decisive moment.
If Liverpool turn down this offer, Barcelona may be forced to accept their chase for Coutinho is over, but can Anfield chiefs turn down an offer of such lavish proportions?
We will not have to wait long to get an answer to that question.