Catalan giants Barcelona are confident of completing a deal for Liverpool midfielder Coutinho in January, and have already drawn up a contract for the Brazilian, according to Don Balon.
Barca failed to secure Coutinho’s signature during the summer as Liverpool held firm, but the Blaugrana are optimistic that the Reds will not be so resilient in January and that their offer will be too good to refuse.
A four-and-a-half year contract is ready to be signed by Coutinho, with the Catalans to offer the midfielder over £400,000 a week.
It is a deal that would make him the second-highest paid player at the club, behind only Lionel Messi.
Good move for Liverpool?
Liverpool will obviously be reluctant to lose their star player, especially half way through a season in which they are looking to solidify their top-four place. The club’s strong stance over the transfer in the summer window shows that they are willing to fight to keep their Brazilian maestro, after they rejected huge bids and ignored the players’ pleas to leave. However, maybe now is the time to accept defeat. The lure of Barcelona will not have diminished for Coutinho, and the longer that Liverpool keep him at the club the more risks they are taking with regards to keeping an unfocused player, and losing out on a record transfer fee. The team have coped admirably when without Coutinho this season, and the transfer fee could be put towards several top players to shore up problem areas for Jurgen Klopp, namely in defence.
This is Futbol rating: 7/10
Likely to happen?
Whether it is in January or next summer, it is safe to say that this transfer is pretty likely to happen. Very rarely do Barcelona lose out on a player they want this badly, and while Coutinho has said he is happy at Liverpool for now, he will still retain his ambitions of playing at the Nou Camp. Liverpool most likely recognise this, and are trying to work out the best way forward for the club. Do they keep him at Anfield until the summer and then sell, or do they cut their losses and make investments in their shaky defence? Whatever is decided, the outcome is almost inevitable.
This is Futbol rating: 9/10