Liverpool boss Klopp explains why club had to sell Coutinho to Barcelona

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Philippe Coutinho is to realise his dream of moving to Barcelona despite Liverpool‘s “great reluctance” to let the Brazilian playmaker leave Anfield for a British record fee worth up to £142million.

The 25-year-old was the subject of a £118million bid from the Catalan club in August, an approach Liverpool rejected, but he is now heading to the Nou Camp after a deal was agreed on Saturday.

A statement read: “Liverpool can confirm Philippe Coutinho will be leaving the club after a transfer agreement was reached with Barcelona, subject to medical and agreement of personal terms.

“The player now has permission to complete the usual formalities to conclude the transfer immediately.”

Barcelona made Coutinho their number-one target after his countryman Neymar made a world-record £200.6million move to Paris St Germain in August and he will sign a five-and-a-half-year contract.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp stressed his club had done everything possible to persuade Coutinho to remain at Anfield, but revealed the player had been “desperate” to move to Spain ever since July.

“It is with great reluctance that we – as a team and club – prepare to say farewell to a good friend, a wonderful person and a fantastic player in Philippe Coutinho,” Klopp said on Liverpool’s website.

“It is no secret that Philippe has wanted this move to happen since July, when Barcelona first made their interest known.

“Philippe was insistent with me, the owners and even his team-mates this was a move he was desperate to make happen.

“Despite that, we managed to keep the player here beyond the summer window, hoping that we would be able to persuade him to stay and be part of what we are looking to do. 

“I can tell the Liverpool supporters that we, as a club, have done everything within our means to convince Philippe that remaining part of Liverpool was as attractive as moving to Spain, but he is 100 per cent certain his future – and that of his family – belongs at Barcelona.

“It is his dream and I am now convinced there is nothing left at our disposal to change his mind.”

After being rebuffed by Liverpool when making three bids for Coutinho in the summer, Barcelona instead bought French forward Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for £93million.

That initially reassured Liverpool fans that Coutinho would not be pursued again, but Dembele has missed the last four months of action through injury and speculation about a renewed Catalonian bid for the Anfield favourite grew ever louder heading into the new year.

The saga took an unexpected turn when Nike reportedly advertised a Barcelona shirt for sale with the Brazilian’s name on it in late December. The page is no longer on the website.

Press Association Sport understands the fee for Coutinho consists of an initial 120 million euros (£106.5million), with a further 40 million euros (£35.5million) hinging on add-ons involved in the signing.

Barcelona said the buy-out fee in his new contract will be 400 million euros (£354.5million).

He had not played for Liverpool since the January transfer window opened because of a thigh problem and did not travel with the squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

Coutinho instead headed to Spain to formalise his transfer on Saturday night and it is expected he will be presented by LaLiga leaders Barcelona on Sunday or Monday.

The Rio-born player arrived at Anfield from Inter Milan for £8.5million in January 2013 and scored 54 goals for the Reds across his appearances in all competitions, although he won no silverware during his five-year stay. 

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Liverpool agree £142 million deal to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona

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Barcelona appear to have finally succeeded in their long pursuit of Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

Reports in both Spain and the UK suggest a British record fee of £142 million – with £105m up front – has been agreed for the Brazil international.

That would be a considerable increase on the £118m which the Catalan club offered and had rejected in August when they made their third unsuccessful bid of the summer.

The 25-year-old, who has not played since the transfer window opened because of a thigh problem, did not travel with the squad for their warm weather training camp in Dubai.

It is now claimed he is travelling to Spain on Saturday night ahead of his presentation on Sunday.

Speculation has been growing about a renewed bid for several days after Coutinho’s bid to force a move in the summer by handing in a transfer request failed to provoke a response.

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Guangzhou Evergrande lining up €72 million bid for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

niall 6/01/2018
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With the transfer window now open the rumour mill is in overdrive, so with that in mind, we take a look at the top stories doing the rounds in the media today.

AUBAMEYANG TO MOVE TO CHINA?

Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to join Guangzhou Evergrande for €72 million, according to reports.

Spanish outlet AS claim the Gabon international will be latest high-profile name to join the Chinese Super League next summer.

Everton, Chelsea, Liverpool and AC Milan have all been linked but Dortmund are desperate to keep hold of their prized asset who has scored 22 goals in 27 matches in all competitions this term.

RATING: 5/10

VERDICT

Although the transfer fee and salary in question would be difficult for any player to turn down, it is unlikely Aubameyang will want to leave the Westfalenstadion for the Far East.

The club has resisted all suitors for their star forward – and unless it’s a significant offer from a strong European club, it is doubtful the 28-year-old will want to swap the Bundesliga for China.

FOUR PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS TARGET MAREGA

Tottenham, Chelsea, Brighton and Leicester are all monitoring the progress of Porto striker Moussa Marega, according to Foot Mercato.

The Malian striker has been in instrumental form in the Portuguese top flight this term, scoring 12 goals in 15 matches.

Porto do not wish to sell their star centre forward who has a release clause of €40 million.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT

Although Marega has been impressive this season, his chances of game time at Brighton and Leicester would be better given how settled Chelsea and Tottenham’s attacking options are.

At 26, he needs consistent playing time therefore sitting on a bench at Wembley Stadium or Stamford Bridge would only curtail his development.

Brighton are in desperate need to sign an attacker of his calibre as they have struggled in front of goal this season, with their top scorer Glenn Murray (34) netting just six goals in 20 matches.

Leicester City are also looking to bolster their sparkling attacking front line that includes Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani – with the latter expected to leave the club next summer.

FBL-POR-LIGA-PORTO-MARITIMO

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