Barcelona is prepared to increase its failed offer from last summer and submit a bid worth £140 million in an effort to convince Liverpool to sell Philippe Coutinho during the winter transfer period, according to Andy Hunter of the Guardian.
Coutinho, who reportedly handed in a transfer request last August, is reportedly eager to join the Catalan side and hopes that Liverpool will be persuaded to accept Barcelona’s latest offer following a summer transfer period in which the Liga side failed on numerous occasions to sign him.
There has yet to be a formal bid received by Liverpool, who rejected a trio of offers from Barcelona which reportedly topped out at £138 million. After the window closed, Barcelona director Albert Soler revealed that Liverpool demanded a fee worth €200 million (£178 million), which Liverpool subsequently denied.
Chris Bascombe of The Telegraph reports that Barcelona is planning on paying Liverpool an initial fee of £105 million, with an additional £35 million in add-ons based on various stipulations.
A successful bid would result in Coutinho becoming the second-most expensive signing behind Brazilian compatriot Neymar, who joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona last summer for a €222-million (£197 million) transfer fee.
Unlike last summer, manager Jurgen Klopp has done little to reassure Liverpool supporters that Coutinho will remain with the club on a long-term basis. The German gaffer also referred to a recent gaffe made by sports sportswear giant Nike, who prematurely published an image of a Barcelona shirt with Coutinho’s name on the back.
“There is no moment in January when I will talk about this, that’s how it is,” Klopp said ahead of Friday’s Merseyside derby. “If anything happens to any player, Phil or whoever, and if something happens, we can talk about it but not before.
“The summer was a different situation. Now it is like it is … still rumours, Nike, other people. In the moment there is something to say I will say it. Before that I am not part of the discussions.”