For anyone who believed Philippe Coutinho’s back injury was entirely legitimate, for anyone clinging to that in order to avoid accepting that a player many admired had taken an underhanded and unprofessional approach to trying to force a move away from Liverpool, Brazil manager Tite has some bad news for you.
Having joined up with the Brazilian national team, Coutinho has been judged fit to take part in training ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Ecuador on Thursday and is expected to play a role in that game—perhaps even a starting role, though at the very least he will be expected to come off the bench for Brazil.
This followed reports on Sunday in the Catalan press, from Barcelona mouthpiece Sport in particular, that the player had met with John Henry and representatives of FSG and convinced them to sell, and that a £148M fee had been agreed in principle. Nothing, though, has changed from Liverpool’s point of view.
More reliable Spanish journalists, like Sky’s Guillem Balague, say there have been no further meetings between Barcelona and Liverpool—no calls, no talks, no discussions. No prices have been set. Liverpool remain quiete definitively set, as they have all along, in their determination not to sell Coutinho this summer.
Meanwhile, even Mundo Deportivo—along with Sport one of the two big names in Barcelona news—have admitted defeat for this summer, suggesting Barcelona will content themselves with waiting until next summer, when they will then look to sign Coutinho to replace Andres Iniesta, who is likely to depart.
Journalists with ties to Liverpool, for their part, maintain that Coutinho will not be sold despite the club’s push to sign Monaco’s 20-year-old rising star attacker Thomas Lemar for a club record fee in excess of £60M.