Barcelona, stinging from the loss of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and scrambling both to fill the sudden void in their squad before the new season kicks off and to placate an increasingly unhappy fanbase, are going to step up their attempts to sign Philippe Coutinho.
So say reports in Spain, with the Catalan press in particular saying that a push is expected—and that Barcelona want to get a deal done in a matter of days, even. According to Mundo Deportivo at least, they’ve set a goal of signing Coutinho by this coming Sunday.
Given Liverpool’s continuing insistence Coutinho isn’t for sale at any price and that so far the player has shown no signs of agitating for a move, this seems like an exceptionally unlikely goal, especially as Mundo Deportivo continue to suggest it won’t cost more than €100M.
That’s closing in on the £90M Manchester United paid to sign Romelu Lukaku, but in the current market and with Liverpool having no need to sell to fund incoming transfers due to their Premier League television money, it wouldn’t be enough to tempt them.
Especially given their own struggles to sign the players they want, with RB Leipzig having signalled they would not sell Naby Keïta even for a fee in excess of £70M and their struggles to get a £60M deal done for Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.
Liverpool have the funds to make offers like those without selling any key players, so the only thing getting a pile of cash for Coutinho would do would be to leave them scrambling to spend it to replace him—as Barcelona are currently having to do with Neymar leaving.
Elsewhere, fellow Catalan paper Sport are at least stepping up the fee a little, suggesting Barcelona could now go as high as €120M (£107M), though Liverpool not needing funds and questions of how to source a suitable replacement for Coutinho would still apply.
In either case, the club appear unbothered by the talk and continue to insist Coutinho isn’t for sale, and despite the recent focus on Coutinho, Mundo Deportivo and Sport have begun to admit that there are alternatives to him that Barcelona could go for.
That list includes Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele, PSG’s Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler, and even Monaco’s in demand Kylian Mbappe. Options, then, for if Coutinho to Barcelona isn’t a done deal by Sunday. Which it won’t be.