Sunday 19 November 2017

Philippe Coutinho wants clear-the-air talks with Liverpool as prospect of Barcelona move dies

Philippe Coutinho is
Philippe Coutinho is "close" to joining Barcelona

Ed Malyon

Philippe Coutinho is ready to hold clear-the-air talks with Liverpool as he looks to return to the fold with Jurgen Klopp's side.

The Brazilian international emailed a transfer request to the club earlier this month, a request rejected by Liverpool, after interest from Barcelona turned his head.

Barca have had a number of bids rejected for the playmaker and have been surprised by the Anfield club's resolve, they have ended their interest in order to analyse other options and sounded out Christian Eriksen's interest in a move as well as talking to the representatives of Nice midfielder Jean-Michel Seri - with whom they have outline personal terms agreed.

Which all leaves Coutinho in an awkward position on Merseyside, where he has asked to leave the club but looks certain to still be a Liverpool player on September 1.

The Independent understands that the player and his representatives are ready to admit defeat and will look to talk to key Liverpool figures to smooth over the summer's events. People within the 25-year-old midfielder's entourage are pointing the finger at Barcelona for manipulating their client and have suggested the Nou Camp club used family members to provide additional pressure. They insist the ill-conceived email was Barca's idea.

Jurgen Klopp has been clear throughout this saga that the player was not for sale and that, had it not been for a back injury, he would have been playing. When Coutinho is fit again he is now expected to return to the Liverpool team but not before some uncomfortable conversations with Liverpool. The players are expected to welcome back their teammate with open arms.

The Reds managed to bring in just one of their top targets this summer, succeeding in recruiting Mohamed Salah but finding Southampton and RB Leipzig absolutely unwilling to deal Virgil van Dijk or Naby Keita respectively.

Independent News Service

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