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Rumour Mongering: Coutinho a Priority for Barcelona

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Philippe Coutinho is reportedly a wanted man.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Premier League
Never let him go.
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Transfer rumours about the future of Philippe Coutinho have been quite frequent in recent weeks as the Brazilian sparkled on the left of Liverpool's attack. Now the club that many believe to have the best chance of tempting Coutinho from Anfield have reportedly made him a priority for the summer transfer window.

'Objetivo Coutinho' was the headline on the front page of Spanish newspaper Sport today, revealing Barcelona's interest in Liverpool's number ten. The same paper reported last month that Coutinho would consider moving to the Camp Nou if any interest materialised, not Real Madrid. Next came the £68 million price tag rumour from France concerning Paris Saint-Germain's interest in the player. PSG continued to be linked, this time with a €100 million move for both Coutinho and his compatriot Roberto Firmino.

Although it seems unlikely that Coutinho will be the replacement for James Rodriguez, could he be Andrés Iniesta's long-term successor? It would involve playing in midfield regularly, which shouldn't be too much of a problem for a player with Coutinho's skill set. It would probably involve waiting until 2018’s summer transfer window when Coutinho and Iniesta will be 26 and 34 respectively.

Much has been made of Coutinho's friendship with Neymar and Luis Suárez, but they both block his path to starting in the front three. Suárez turns 30 in January, Neymar is still only 24, and Lionel Messi is Lionel Messi. Jürgen Klopp wants to keep his best players but is used to dealing with transfer rumours linking his players with moves away.

Coutinho has found the consistency and maturity in his game that to blossom under Klopp this season, and in truth, these rumours are a natural byproduct of his progress. Stunning performances for Brazil will only raise his profile further, inviting even more transfer rumours.