BARCELONA are closing in on Ousmane Dembele, but that doesn’t mean they’ve given up on signing Philippe Coutinho.
Borussia Dortmund and Barca have reportedly agreed a $178 million deal for 20-year-old Dembele, and now they will do their best to capture Coutinho.
Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo reported Barca are holding talks with Liverpool and Dortmund in Monaco over moves for Dembele and the Reds playmaker.
The outlet led with the headline: “Double meeting”.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu will reportedly meet with Liverpool secretary Danny Stanway and Reds legends Ian Rush, according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.
However, the duo reportedly can’t negotiate a deal, and Liverpool still don’t want to sell Coutinho.
Barca are reportedly preparing a massive forth bid worth 138 million pounds, but it reportedly won’t make Liverpool budge.
Sky Sports presenter Kaveh Solhekol tweeted: “We’ve been told Liverpool would not even sell him for £150 million ($240m).”
“Liverpool are standing firm.”
“Philippe Coutinho’s heart remains set on a move to Barcelona but Liverpool will not budge,” added reporter Dharmesh Sheth on Sky Sports’ Transfer Centre.
“It is thought Barca will go back in with a bid worth £138m but Liverpool are expected to stand firm.
“One option that has been discussed is for Coutinho to release a statement or give an interview making it clear he wants to leave.
“The hope is to put pressure on Liverpool to sell. Good luck.”
Spanish publication Diario Gol reported Jurgen Klopp is ready to allow a deal for Coutinho, so long as they receive Barca full-back Sergi Roberto or Ivan Rakitic in return.
The report stated: “Klopp wants an immediate replacement for Coutinho and wants Ivan Rakitic or Sergi Roberto to enter the operation for his player. Otherwise, he will hardly let the carioca out.”
Rafinha, Arda Turan and Andre Gomes have all reportedly been offered to the Reds, but Klopp isn’t interested in any of them.
Italian outlet Calciomercato reported Rafinha has agreed a deal to join AC Milan, Spanish outlet Sport reported Turan is free to leave the Nou Camp, and Gomes has been linked with a transfer to Juventus.
“There’s nothing else to say. It’s not that I don’t want to talk, I just have nothing to say, that’s how it is,” he said.
However, Klopp is reportedly interested in signing another central defender.
But that doesn’t mean the Reds need to sell Coutinho, according to club legend and pundit Steve Nicol.
“Liverpool have money, forget Coutinho, forget there was ever any money offered for Coutinho,” he said on ESPN FC.
“That shouldn’t and wouldn’t have stopped Liverpool going and buying a defender if they saw one, if there was one they wanted.
“According to them nobody other than Van Dijk. They obviously want him.”
However, Barca defender Gerard Pique is convinced Coutinho will do everything he can to force a move through to the Nou Camp.
“I think players still want to join Barcelona, and they are showing that as is the case with Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele,” Pique told the Daily Mail.
“One by putting in a transfer request and the other with his actions at Dortmund.
“It suggests that they are both delighted about the idea of coming; they want to come.”
But Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger isn’t so sure.
Wenger said: “I don’t know where he [Coutinho] stands with Liverpool or they stand with him.”
“I’m not even sure Barcelona are in for him, I don’t know.”
If Barca aren’t able to sign Coutinho, then manager Ernesto Valverde will target West Ham star Manuel Lanzini and PSG’s Angel Di Maria, according to reports in Argentina.
However, The Star suggested Chelsea’s Willian could also be a potential alternative.
Originally published as Reds’ Coutinho insistence, how Klopp would sell
Source: sports dailytelegraph