Barca Wants Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho As Neymar Replacement

Barcelona have made a £72 million offer to sign Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho, according to the Daily Mail.

The Brazilian forward was linked to both Real Madrid and Barcelona early last season when Coutinho was on fire at the beginning of the campaign, teaming up well with Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino in Jürgen Klopp’s front three.

With Neymar strongly linked with a move to both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United for several months now, it’s not unreasonable to think that the Catalan club would make a move for the 25-year-old.

The report in the Daily Mail claims that Barcelona have made a formal offer to the Merseyside club with a £72 million bid on the table. However, the report also suggests that Liverpool will reject the offer as they plan to keep Philippe Coutinho beyond the summer transfer window.

Whether the player would be happy for his club to reject an offer from one of the world’s most successful clubs remains to be seen. Few players would turn down the opportunity to play at the Camp Nou alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, and Andres Iniesta.

Liverpool are able to offer Champions League football this upcoming season, provided they get through their one qualifying tie but few expect them to challenge for the Premier League title, much less the Champions League.  Whilst Barcelona will be expected to compete strongly for both the La Liga title and the Champions League.

Philippe Coutinho’s career has started to reach the heights many had expected when he came through the ranks at Internazionale, making his debut as an 18-year-old in August 2010.  The Brazilian failed to hold down a regular place in the Italian club’s side before spending the second half of the 2011-12 season in the city of Barcelona, on loan at local rivals Espanyol.

Since joining Liverpool in January 2013, Coutinho has impressed many spectators and journalists, even though he is still inconsistent. The Brazilian has an excellent long shot on him and has gone on to win 27 caps for the national team to date.

What makes this report of Barcelona making a formal approach for the Liverpool star is that they could be about to lose Neymar on their left wing. Coutinho essentially plays the exact role as Neymar does in Barcelona’s front three.

Carlos Carpio of Marca today reports that Paris Saint-Germain are ready to spend €222 million on Neymar and that the Brazilian star has already verbally agreed a six-year deal in the French capital. Barcelona don’t currently have a direct replacement for the 25-year-old.

The bad news for the Spanish giants is that Philippe Coutinho only renewed his deal at Anfield earlier this year, taking him through to 2022. This means the Reds aren’t in a position where they will be forced to sell. However, if they are happy to sell their star, they are in a good position to demand a hefty transfer fee.

However, Barcelona are a team capable of signing whoever they want. So Jürgen Klopp may want to start preparing a backup plan in case he loses one of his stars this summer. Whilst Liverpool have already signed Mohamed Salah, it would appear this was not a direct replacement for Coutinho. Therefore the German boss may want to consider looking at the likes of Schalke 04’s Max Meyer, Lorenzo Insigne of Napoli, or Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt.