Liverpool: January Coutinho Exit Looking Inevitable
The player has reportedly made it clear that he isn't prepared to wait any longer for his dream switch to Barcelona...
Speculation surrounding the future of Philippe Coutinho, who was the subject of three failed bids from Barcelona over the summer, has never really gone away despite the player responding to Liverpool's decision not to sell by knuckling down and delivering on the pitch.
A fine return of 12 goals and nine assists in 18 appearances, including five goals in five Champions League outings, had led many Liverpool supporters to hope the Brazilian, who has also captained the Reds on a number of occasions this term, was content with life on Merseyside and wouldn't again force the issue come January.
However, in reality, it seems little has changed since August when Coutinho handed in a transfer request and made his desire to move to the Camp Nou clear to the club's hierarchy.
And now, according to the well-sourced Liverpool ECHO, in addition to a number of publications in Spain, Liverpool are said to be on the verge of admitting defeat in their battle to keep the creative midfielder and will sanction a sale this month.
Such an outcome had seemed unlikely previously with Liverpool enjoying a good season, Coutinho now cup-tied in Europe and Barcelona holding a commanding nine-point lead at the top of La Liga.
There had even been some talk that Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group were prepared to improve the player's current £150,000-per-week wages in order to convince him to at least put the move on hold for the time being.
The Echo report states that Coutinho's representatives believe a new offer from Barca is imminent and that it is likely to total around £140million, including achievable add-ons, which is substantially more than the £118m that the Catalans topped-out at in the summer.
Such figures would make the 25-year-old the third most expensive footballer in history behind Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Coutinho is no stranger to switching clubs in mid-season, having joined Liverpool from Inter Milan for £8.5million in January 2013.
Although Barcelona were always likely to return for Coutinho this month, we, like most observers, expected any deal to relate to him transferring at the end of the season. At face value, making the switch now doesn't seem to make much sense for either of the clubs involved, but sadly it looks almost certain to happen. For all of Mohamed Salah's amazing impact, Coutinho remains Liverpool's most talented player and it will be disappointing to see him go regardless of the fact he has already burned several bridges with his actions. Kop boss Jürgen Klopp may have a number of talented attacking midfield players at his disposal but none possesses Coutinho's vision, his precision or his composure on the ball, although the recent return from injury of Adam Lallana will certainly help paper over the cracks. As long as the add-ons are achievable, unlike in previous offers, £140million could well prove to be enough to get this deal finally over the line.
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