Wednesday 18 July 2018

Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona: Spanish club confident of completing deal within seven days

Barcelona prepare €160million package to capture Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool - but will it be enough?
Barcelona prepare €160million package to capture Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool - but will it be enough?

Miguel Delaney

Barcelona now believe they can complete the signing of Philippe Coutinho as early as next week, after a breakthrough was made in pursuit of what would be the third-biggest transfer in football history.

While Liverpool are still trying to persuade the Brazilian to stay, their stance is no longer that he is definitively not for sale, and sources close to the Catalan hierarchy feel more confident than ever that the package they are putting together should now be enough to push the deal through.

The Anfield top brass are prepared to leave the final decision to manager Jurgen Klopp but, should he decide that Coutinho can go, it will really come down to the terms of the deal.

Barcelona are currently preparing to pay a total of £133m as they seek a long-term successor to Andres Iniesta.

With Barcelona's interest in the Brazilian having dominated most of the summer transfer window, it had been expected that it would run for most of this one, but the Catalans are now acting on the basis it could be completed within the next seven days and before Liverpool's match with Manchester City on 14 January.

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On Thursday manager Klopp insisted that the ongoing saga has not and will not affect the mindset and performances of other players in his squad.

Ahead of Friday's Merseyside derby against Everton in the third round of the FA Cup, the Liverpool manager repeatedly said he is "not interested" in the speculation surrounding Coutinho's future claiming: "There is nothing to say until there is something to say."

Klopp did, however, stress that the uncertainty over Coutinho's future will not affect other members of the Liverpool squad and he is confident that his players are focused enough to ignore transfer speculation.

Independent News Service

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