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Liverpool and Barcelona Tangled In Tussle Over Different Player?

Cue the “Mortal Kombat” theme music.

SSC Napoli v OGC Nice - UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs Round: First Leg Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Liverpool Football Club and FC Barcelona appear destined, at least for this summer, to be locked in mortal combat, one PR department vs. the other, as they both plunge into the deep abyss beneath the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, beyond the deepest delvings of the dwarves, where the transfer deadline lies.

Thus far, the main event had been the tug-of-war over the heart and feet (mostly the feet) of one Philippe Coutinho. That contest had seen not one, not two, but three failed bids from the Catalonian giants, each of which was quickly rebuffed by Liverpool. With things having devolved into a slightly farcical standoff on that front, it appears Barcelona may be opening up a new front in their War On Liverpool™ this summer - namely, rumored Liverpool target Jean Seri.

Seri’s name started to appear more prominently in links with Liverpool in the immediate wake of Adam Lallana’s injury and the apparent impasse in the Naby Keïta pursuit - a situation which highlighted some worrying deficiencies in the depth chart. Those noises only picked up in volume following Coutinho’s shock transfer request and the ramping up of hostilities with Barcelona in that particular arena.

Reports in Spain, which have been picked up by the English press, suggest that Barcelona are ready to trigger Seri’s release clause (rumored to be in the region of £36 million) and that the Catalonian club is hopeful of unveiling the OGC Nice midfielder before the end of the coming week. Some outlets have suggested that personal terms have already been agreed upon, and that Barcelona is Seri’s preferred destination, despite interest from the Premier League.

If the rumors are true, Seri could of course represent an alternative solution in the event that Barcelona fail to secure Coutinho (which still looks like a probable outcome given how the discussions with Liverpool have gone). Seri does, however, bring a different skill set and playing style to the table compared with Coutinho, and the reports from Mundo Deportivo stress that Barcelona’s intention is to acquire the Ivorian and the Brazilian, as they are viewed as complementary.

If the rumors aren’t true - bear in mind Seri’s current club OGC Nice still have a chance to salvage a spot in the Champions League group stages if they can overcome a two-goal deficit against Napoli - then gestures are likely another attempt to further unsettle Liverpool as Barcelona go into “desperate measures” mode.

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