It’s that time again. The sun is shining, the air tastes just a bit sweeter, and big clubs are casting yearning glances toward Liverpool’s best players.
Barcelona’s interest in Reds attacker Philippe Coutinho has been well-documented, and there has been speculation over how strong Liverpool’s resolve would be come summertime. Yet according to the Echo, the Anfield braintrust are prepared to resist the temptation of a potentially huge transfer fee in favor of keeping Coutinho on Merseyside.
The Echo further reports that, despite rumors in the Spanish press to the contrary, Liverpool made it clear to Barcelona months ago that Coutinho was going nowhere. Their position is strengthened by the new five-year contract the player signed in January, as well as a decent relationship with both Coutinho and his agent.
But the speculation has kicked up, partly due to his improved form in recent weeks and partly due to his return to Brazil’s teamsheet on international duty last month. Barcelona star Neymar has also reportedly been all up in Coutinho’s business and trying to convince him to move to Spain. But this all seems, for the moment at least, idle talk.
For his part, Jürgen Klopp doesn’t seem bothered by the rumors.
“Actually, I think it’s positive when there is interest. It shows it’s good. I am not concerned because I think Phil fits really well and comfortably here. He had a difficult time with injury, coming back fighting for shape, I would say. That’s normal. In the last three games, you can see immediately, when he is in a little bit of shape, how big the difference is he can have in a game. That’s wonderful for us. I am not concerned, actually, because we give the boys enough perspective that they really want to be part of this for the next few years.”
Obviously, what comes out in the press regarding transfers isn’t necessarily a reflection of what’s happening behind the scenes. As always, grains of salt are recommended.