Barcelona to make '€150m offer for Philippe Coutinho' - as rumours of an early deal for Naby Keita resurface
Barcelona are preparing to make a fresh bid for Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho, according to reports emerging from Spain.
Barcelona have yet to lodge a fresh offer for Coutinho, but the player and his advisers have made it clear to Liverpool that they will make another attempt to force through a move to Barcelona during this month's transfer window and now it seems they Barca will respond with a bid.
Sky Sports and Spanish media are suggesting a deal that could be worth up to €150m to Liverpool could be tabled in the coming days, with Liverpool chiefs believed to be 'softening' their stance in the bid to hang on to Coutinho.
Coutinho missed Monday's game against Burnley at Turf Moor with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp claiming his play maker missed the game at Turf Moor due to a 'thigh injury', yet that did little to dispel the theory that he is again trying to push through a move to Liverpool.
The emergence of promotion on the Nike website - who have working relationships with Coutinho and Barcelona - proclaiming the player was 'ready to light up the Nou Camp' over the weekend added fuel to the fire suggesting a deal is close, but Liverpool are yet to stage fresh talks with Barca after turning down a series of bids from the Catalan giants for their Brazilian star last summer.
Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita for next summer and if Coutinho is sold, Anfield chiefs may look to bring forward that deal and try to get it completed this month.
However, RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff insists Liverpool his club have no interest in an early deal for Keita, as they intend to hold onto the player until the end of this season.
"Neither Naby nor his agent have made the request to leave the club in the winter," Mintzlaff told Bild. "There are contracts, and they say that he will be a Liverpool employee from July 1 onwards."
Those words appeared to be pretty unequivocal from Leipzig, but Liverpool could test their resolve with a fresh financial offer should they decide the time is right to sell Coutinho.
While the Brazilian attacking star's advisers may have been driving some of the speculation in the media over the last few days, it is becoming increasingly evident that there is a fatigue among Liverpool's hierarchy and possibly even boss Klopp over a transfer story that continues to hover over the club.
All at Anfield appear to have accepted that Coutinho will eventually seal his dream move to Barcelona if a bid in excess of £120m is received from the Catalan giants.
The only question now appears to be at what point in 2018 will Coutinho's move to Barcelona be given a rubber stamp.