Barcelona consider swoop for Paris Saint-Germain star Angel di Maria as Neymar replacement

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Angel Di Maria

Angel di Maria is being touted as the man to replace Neymar as Barcelona assess their options in light of the Brazilian’s move to Paris Saint-Germain.

According to Marca, Blaugrana are ready to capture the former Real Madrid star before the closure of this summer’s transfer window.

PSG are thought to be looking to raise cash to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations following their world-record swoop for Neymar.

Di Maria, who signed for the Parc des Princes side in 2015 following a disappointing season with Manchester United, has two years left on his current deal in the French capital and insiders believe PSG can recoup the bulk of the £44m they shelled out on the wing talent.

However, it remains to be seen whether Barca will want to buy a player from PSG following the recent bitter negotiations between the two clubs.

Interestingly, Di Maria had an anti-Barcelona release clause inserted into his contract when he left the Bernabeu in 2014 – meaning Real Madrid would take home a hefty slice of a future transfer fee if he signed for Barca – but that contractual obligation expired after three years and now frees up the 29-year-old’s plans.

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Timeline of Barcelona's pursuit of Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho after Brazil international hands in transfer request

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Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho could leave Liverpool this summer after submitting a transfer request to the club’s hierarchy.

The Reds’ stance on the player has been consistent throughout the transfer window, with the Merseysiders remaining adamant he is not for sale.

Liverpool have yet to officially comment following Coutinho’s email request but have reportedly rejected his plea.

Here, we look back at the key dates this summer in Barcelona’s pursuit of the Reds star – with the Catalans twice being knocked back with big-money bids.

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Liverpool star Coutinho issues transfer request via email
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FRIDAY JULY 21

Liverpool rebuffed a £72million bid from Barcelona for the Brazilian, with Kop boss Jurgen Klopp revealing he would sit down with his star player and underline his importance to the team.

Coutinho has featured throughout most of the club’s pre-season campaign and on July 22 scored a sensational strike in the 2-1 friendly win over Leicester.

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 9

Barcelona launched a second bid for the 25-year-old, thought to be in the region of £90million – which was immediately rejected by the Anfield club.

Again, Liverpool reiterated that the playmaker would not be going anywhere ahead of the new Premier League campaign.

FRIDAY AUGUST 11

10AM UK TIME

The club’s Fenway Sports Group owners released a statement via Liverpool’s social media, stating that Coutinho would not be sold this summer.

It read: “The club’s definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered and he will remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer (transfer) window closes.”

11AM UK TIME

German boss Klopp backed up the club’s owners remarks in his pre-Watford press conference.

“If FSG is saying something like this, that’s the statement. That’s the way it will go, nothing else to say about it,” the 50-year-old said.

He also confirmed Coutinho would not be available for the trip to Watford on Saturday due to a back injury.

12.30PM UK TIME

Rumours started circling online that the Reds’ coveted No.10 had issued a transfer request.

It was later confirmed via credible sources on social media that the player had submitted an email transfer request, asking to end his four-year stay on Merseyside.

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Liverpool star Coutinho hands in transfer request to force Barcelona move

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Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has submitted a transfer request, Press Association Sport understands.

Barcelona had a bid of around £90million for the Brazil international rejected by the Reds on Wednesday.

And it is understood Coutinho has now declared to Liverpool his desire to leave – news that emerged on Friday only hours after the club’s owners had issued a statement stressing their stance that the 25-year-old would not be sold during the current transfer window.

Coutinho is understood to have submitted the transfer request personally via email.

Barca, who sold Neymar to Paris St Germain last week for a world-record £200.6m, made their offer on Wednesday having already had a £72m bid for Coutinho turned down in July.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has gone on record a number of times emphasising the player is not for sale, and the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) backed that up on Friday morning by saying in a statement: ”’The club’s definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered and he will remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer (transfer) window closes.”

That message appeared on Liverpool’s official website just prior to Klopp speaking at a press conference, during which he said of FSG’s statement: ”I think if somebody, in this case FSG, is saying something like this, that is the statement.

”I have said what the club’s decision is about this and now you can read it – that is maybe the only difference. And that is the way it will go.”

Soon after the press conference, reports emerged that Coutinho had handed in a transfer request, and although initially Liverpool insisted that was not the case, it is understood they have now received one from the player.

Also on Friday, a statement released to Sky Sports News, which was said to be from one of Coutinho’s close family members, was read out on the channel.

The statement said: “Philippe has tried very hard to find an amicable solution to this situation but to no avail.

“He has tremendous love for the club and its fans but, like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have pointed out in the past, Liverpool does not let its players leave on amicable terms.”

In the press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Watford – a game Coutinho will miss due to a back problem – Klopp was asked about trying to keep the former Inter Milan man happy.

The German said: ”I can’t keep players happy. That’s how life is.

”It’s not about this at the moment. Phil is not available for us and that for me is the bigger issue. All the rest is just between me and all the boys, not just Phil.”

Klopp also said he had “nothing to say about this” when asked what Coutinho had said to him regarding the Barcelona interest.

As well as being unavailable for Saturday’s contest at Vicarage Road, Coutinho is a doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League qualifying play-off first leg against Hoffenheim in Germany.

Coutinho, who joined Liverpool from Inter for £8.5m in 2013, signed a new five-year deal with the Merseyside outfit in January that did not include a buy-out clause.

He was their leading scorer with 14 goals in all competitions last term, a season that saw Klopp’s men secure a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League.

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