Following Paris Saint-Germain’s acquisition of Neymar from Barcelona the Spanish giants were quickly linked with a move for Philippe Coutinho as his replacement.
Barcelona ended up signing Ousmane Dembélé from Borussia Dortmund, making him the second most expensive player of all-time, behind the Brazilian superstar they’d just sold.
That didn’t stop the Catalan club being linked with a move for Liverpool’s own Brazilian though and Barcelona even saw offers up to £138 million rejected by the Reds.
Liverpool managed to keep hold of Coutinho beyond the summer transfer window but don’t be surprised if the La Liga side come in with another offer for the attacking midfielder, either in January or the summer. Ultimately, if Barcelona are really keen on signing the 25-year-old then they will get their man.
The prices that have been thrown around should certainly be considered by the Premier League side who could easily sign a replacement and upgrade their defence for £120 million.
Expecting Coutinho to leave Anfield in the near future, here are five potential replacements for Jürgen Klopp to consider:
The AS Monaco winger was linked with a move to both the Reds and Arsenal over the summer, with the latter having a transfer deadline day offer rejected. Thomas Lemar had an excellent campaign in 2016-17, helping Monaco upset the odds to win Ligue 1, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Whilst the French international doesn’t score as many goals as Coutinho, he does provide more assists. Liverpool already have goals from Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mané, so having a playmaker out wide would give Klopp a different option. Certainly an upgrade on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Another player that Liverpool only have to go to France to look at is Paris Saint-Germain’s Julian Draxler. With the current Ligue 1 leaders signing both Neymar and Kylian Mbappé over the summer, Draxler’s opportunities have been limited this season, particularly playing the full 90 minutes and in the big matches.
Jürgen Klopp will know Draxler from his time in his homeland; and the 2014 World Cup winner has similar attributes to Philippe Coutinho in that he provides both goals and assists, as well as having a good long-range shot. PSG could be open to selling as they have so many options in attack to keep happy.
Like Draxler, Mesut Özil is another product of the Schalke 04 youth academy and someone whom Klopp will know well from his time in Germany. The 2014 World Cup winner is heading towards the final six months of his contract at Arsenal with seemingly no indication of signing a new deal.
Therefore Mesut Özil could be available on a free transfer come summertime. Whilst the former Real Madrid man has been strongly linked with moves to Barcelona and Manchester United, the Merseyside club should not be ruled out of landing the attacking midfielder. Özil offers flair, creativity and is a good set piece taker.
Xherdan Shaqiri is in his third season at Stoke City and one must think the former Bayern Munich man will be on his way out of the Bet365 Stadium in the near future. He’s getting better each year in England and, with a fantastic left foot, he could be a great direct replacement for Philippe Coutinho.
Stoke City have made a slow start to the 2017-18 season and it wouldn’t surprise me if Mark Hughes was out of the door before next season. That, and Stoke’s failure to qualify for Europe could certainly lead to Shaqiri wanting to leave the Potters.
Another Arsenal player in the final 12 months of his current deal and with no signs of extending it, Alexis Sánchez looks set to leave on a free transfer in the summer if he hasn’t been sold in January. Although he’s been strongly linked with moves to Manchester City, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and Juventus – Liverpool still have time to make a move for the Chilean superstar.
Like Coutinho, Sánchez plays out on the left, scores goals and creates chances for his teammates. He also takes a good free kick and is a constant nuisance to opposition defences.