Liverpool and Barcelona 'in talks' over the transfer of Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool have refused to dismiss suggestions that they are now open to selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in this transfer window, amid claims that talks are underway in London over a possible €150m deal.
Following the Independent.ie reports yesterday suggesting a deal for Coutinho could be thrashed out imminently, there are now widespread suggestions in the UK and Spanish media that Liverpool decided to sell Coutinho after a meeting with the player and his advisers in recent days, where it was made clear the player wanted to leave now.
While the club have yet to confirm whether Coutinho has again asked to leave Liverpool a few months after he handed in a transfer request in a bid to force through a move to Barcelona, Anfield chiefs appear to have accepted that the Brazilian will leave the club at some point in 2018.
As Coutinho appears to be so desperate to move now, the transfer could happen this month, with reports in Spain suggesting Barcelona are preparing to make an offer of €110m, with a further €40m in add-ons that would get close to Liverpool's asking price of €150m.
A meeting between the two clubs is believed to be taking place in London on Wednesday, with the final details of the move 'likely to be finalised in the next few days' according to Spanish publication Sport.
There is some bemusement among Liverpool officials over Coutinho's eagerness to leave for Barcelona now, even though he will not be eligible to play for the Catalan giants in the knock-out stages of the Champions League, but it seems as if his desire to leave now will get him the move he wants if the financial package offered is acceptable to Anfield chiefs.
"I am surprised he is so keen to leave now," Liverpool goal scoring great John Aldridge told Independent.ie. "I'm sure Liverpool told him he could move to Barcelona next summer if he stayed for one more season, but maybe that stance is changing now. It's a shame because he could have left the club with the fans blessing, yet that might not be the case if he forces through a move now."
Meanwhile, the sale of Coutinho could see Liverpool make a move to bring forward the arrive of Naby Keita, even though Leipzig chiefs stated this week that they have no intention of allowing their play maker to move to Anfield ahead of his anticipated arrival on July 1st.
That stance could change if Liverpool decide to use some of their cash windfall from Barcelona to make a fresh financial offer for Keita, who was already being signed as a replacement for the departing Coutinho.