Charismatic Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp appears to have sent Barcelona a clear hands-off warning regarding the Reds’ prolific playmaker Philippe Coutinho, insisting there is “no price” the Anfield outfit would be willing to let the player go.
After Paris Saint-Germain’s £200-million transfer-record purchase of Neymar from Barcelona a few days ago, the Catalan giants had been hard at work to find a suitable replacement – and it appears another Brazilian is set to fill the vacuum Neymar left behind.
Indeed, according to sports portal ESPN, Barcelona have already reached an agreement in principle to sign Coutinho from Liverpool for a fee of no less than £81-million, coupled with bonuses and add-ons which could potentially ramp up the final price to £108-million.
Many can see where Barcelona are coming from with this move. Coutinho, who primary plays in either a left wing or shadow striker role that is very similar to Neymar, has been phenomenal for Liverpool last season, scoring 14 goals and nine assists in 36 appearances for the Merseyside giants across all competitions.
The 25-year-old Brazilian certainly has what it takes to replace Neymar at Camp Nou, and it appears Barcelona are ready to pull off the deal.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, however, has every intent to scratch Barcelona’s plans, with his mind set on keeping his star player rooted in Northwest England.
“Liverpool are not a club that have to sell players, that is set in stone. Whatever [Barcelona] pay in the end doesn’t matter,” a defiant Klopp said in an interview with Sky Germany.
“Our goal is to have the best possible team. So we want to keep our guys and add new ones. That is our plan,” the former Borussia Dortmund head coach further explained.
Liverpool icon Craig Bellamy, however, seems to disagree with his former employers, saying the English side will have no choice but to let Coutinho go once Barcelona come calling.
A pragmatic Bellamy told Sky Sports, “Liverpool are going to stay firm, but it’s still early in the transfer window, and how long can they stay firm for?
“No supporter wants to hear this, everyone thinks their team is the biggest, and rightly so, but this is Barcelona. If they come calling, it’s very difficult for players to turn down,” Bellamy admitted.
While the speculation continues to ramp up, Coutinho’s future remains unclear. Of course, only time can tell whether the Brazilian midfield wizard stays with Liverpool or fulfills a dream move to Spain.