Barcelona will reportedly have to shell out around €75 million (£64.1 million) if they want to sign Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has hinted he would let the Brazilian go if the money was right.
Per Goal, the midfield star has been heavily linked with the Blaugrana recently having made a superb start to the 2016-17 season in helping Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table.
According to Angels Fabregues in Sport, Liverpool do not like to sell their players and Barca will find it hard to sign Coutinho, not least because of his hefty price tag. He is also currently not an urgent need for the Catalan club given their attacking depth.
However, per Fabregues, Barca could afford to offer Coutinho a tempting wage packet, and Klopp said he would not stand in the 24-year-old’s way should he be in line for a huge pay rise:
My opinion is that [Coutinho] feels really well here [at Anfield]. We all hope and think that his future is here at Liverpool. It is creating the perspective that no-one wants to leave. That is all it is about.
If there is a club that can pay double what we pay then I will bring the player there because who am I to say ‘no, no no, please don’t think about the family and the kids and the grandkids and their kids,’ but I don’t know a lot of clubs in the world who are able to do this.
It seems that, should Barcelona be prepared to make a huge outlay both in transfer fee and wages, there is a possibility they could sign Coutinho.
He would certainly be an excellent addition to an already phenomenal side.
Coutinho has arguably been Liverpool’s best player for the last two full seasons and has continued his great form in 2016-17.
After 11 games of the 2016-17 Premier League campaign he has netted five goals and provided five assists, and for Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe he is currently the best player in the division:
Liverpool would be loath to let Coutinho go, and the Brazil international will likely be more than happy to remain at Anfield if the Reds convert their current excellent form into a Premier League title at the end of the season.
However, should Liverpool go another campaign without major silverware in 2016-17 Coutinho may be inclined to move elsewhere and Barcelona could potentially then snap him up in the summer with a major offer.
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Meanwhile, Manchester City have been touted as the front-runners to sign Barca superstar Lionel Messi should the Argentinian continue to stall on contract talks, per JJ Bull in the Telegraph.
According to Marca (h/t the Telegraph), the 29-year-old Messi is ready to see out his current deal to 2018 and then he could leave the Spanish giants as he is unhappy with his tax fraud conviction by Spanish authorities.
Camp Nou president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently insisted Messi will eventually sign a new deal and finish his career at Barca, per SuperSport:
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Lionel Messi: “We are all convinced that he will end his playing days at the heart of this club.” pic.twitter.com/HmZk5Eirqj
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) November 17, 2016
But, should he depart the Catalan club, City would be his most likely destination, as they could afford to pay both his fee and wages, while the presence of former Barca duo Txiki Begiristain and Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium would likely attract Messi, per Bull.
Given Messi has been at Barcelona since 2001 and become arguably the world’s best player at the club, it seems likely he will remain there past the end of his current deal in 2018.
However, the longer he does not put pen to paper on a new deal the more likely a surprising departure will become.