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Liverpool: Coutinho Deal Close

According to reputable sources this morning, Liverpool FC are close to agreeing a fee for Brazilian attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho...

Liverpool are known to be in the market for a creative player who can bring some additional attacking intent to their midfield and high on their list of targets is seemingly Inter Milan's Philippe Coutinho.

The 20-year-old Brazil international started his career at Vasco da Gama before moving to Italy in 2010. The deal to take Coutinho to the San Siro was agreed two years previous with Inter paying 4m for the then 16-year-old but allowing him to remain in Brazil until he turned 18.

A talented playmaker, who is two-footed and renowned for his dribbling skills, Coutinho has subsequently featured 37 times for the Nerazzurri, scoring five goals, and also enjoyed a successful loan spell at Spanish side Espanyol towards the end of last season.

Reports over the weekend, including those published by the Guardian and Telegraph, suggested Liverpool were close to agreeing an 8m fee to take Coutinho to Anfield and after the story appeared in the well sourced Liverpool ECHO this morning it is highly likely to be true.

The local newspaper believes the Reds had an opening bid of 5m rejected and will shortly return with an improved offer. They also mention that the deal will not affect the club's continued pursuit of Blackpool winger Tom Ince who they previously bid 6m for.

The move for Coutinho follows news that the player's Inter team mate Wesley Sneijder is finally close to agreeing a protracted move to Turkish side Galatasaray. Liverpool were also interested in the 28-year-old but could not agree terms with the Dutchman who earns a reported 180k-a-week at present.

Coutinho is not an automatic first choice for Inter even though the Italian giants have struggled for long periods of the current campaign. As a result he is thought to be keen on the move and the club would also be interested in allowing him to leave for the right fee given their present cost-cutting measures.

Vital Verdict
Coutinho certainly seems a better fit than Sneijder in terms of the perceived age and cost preferred by Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group. The youngster certainly has ability and is the type of player who can excite fans. At this stage he is still very much a work in progress but talent wise he can become a top player so on paper it seems a very good move by the club. With the recent signing of Daniel Sturridge and the return from injury of Fabio Borini the problematic striking position looks a lot stronger now so it was right to evaluate other areas of the squad that needed improving. Liverpool are not short of midfielders but the likes of Lucas Leiva, Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen can hardly be considered a constant attacking threat and the arrival of Coutinho, alongside Jonjo Shelvey, puts the squad in good shape for the future in this regard.

Likelihood (out of 5):
Four



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The Journalist

Writer: Gavin John Day Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday January 21 2013

Time: 11:20AM

Your Comments

The lads got a lot of potential and is being squandered and wasted by inter. Could be another very good buy its just a case of whether he can adjust to a much more physical premier league. That said he done well in la liga and if the transition period from recent signings from la liga is anything to go by he could make an instant impact. Is another midfielder what Liverpool needs though? Also shocked VitalLiverpool is so quite after the thrashing and numerous good signs displayed against Norwich.
TheFamousNo7
Also, what do you make of the Reina to Barca rumours on the back of the news valdes won't be renewing his contract. Will he be able to resist going back to Barca with his barca DNA an all? Will he sooner opt to be playing at the highest levels again rather than see Liverpool through back to the top?
TheFamousNo7
Agree Coutinho would be a good signing especially as he is versatile enough to play out wide as well as his favoured second striker/number 10 role - very useful for Rodgers considering he generally plays 4-3-3... I think most Liverpool fans are getting accustomed now to not getting carried away by one result/performance - we've had way too many over the last few years that have proved to be nothing but another false dawn. Plus it was only Norwich and scoring five past them is not that special if we can manage it twice in a season! :-)
The Bagman
With regards to Pepe Reina I wouldn't be surprised to see him return to Barcelona at some point. As you say it is where he grew up etc and given his incosistent form and the fact the owners are always looking to the future a move could make sense for all parties. We should still be able to get a decent fee for him and it could be used to bring in someone like Jack Butland who could play for the club for the next decade and on a lower wage than Reina currently enjoys. Smart business perhaps but Reina is a massive character and influence around the club and it will be sad to see him go if it does happen.
The Bagman
coutinho is good but nowhere near finished article. would prefer some more experience as we have very young team already
BigRed83
 

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