Jurgen Klopp is not willing to sanction Philippe Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona at any cost despite the Catalan giants willing to make him second most expensive player in the world by paying over €100m (£90.3m, $118m) to take him to the Camp Nou.
Barcelona have identified the Liverpool midfielder as an ideal replacement for Neymar, who joined Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222m deal earlier this month. The La Liga side’s president has confirmed that they are looking at alternatives and will spend the money they received from the Brazilian’s sale.
Recent reports suggests that Barcelona had come to an agreement with Liverpool over a move for the former Inter Milan midfielder, but according to Mirror, the Merseyside club are not willing to sanction a move and have not come to the negotiating table yet.
The German coach has been clear about his intentions in retaining all his key players and is said to have the full backing of the club hierarchy. Coutinho is said to be keen to move to Spain and Liverpool club legend Graeme Souness believes it will be hard for his former club to retain a player keen on a move away, especially since its Barcelona, who play the style of football that will suit the Brazil international.
“I don’t think you can [keep him],” Souness said about Liverpool’s stance on Coutinho, as quoted on Sky Sports. “The chance to play for a team that would suit his style of play, I don’t think he can say no to it, as hard as that is for Liverpool to accept.
“Ultimately if he wants to go he will go, as much as the club won’t want him to. He’s on a contract but if the big players want to go these days then they get their own way.”
Souness has backed Liverpool to find an able replacement for Coutinho, but believes they will be quoted inflated prices as clubs will be aware of the money at their disposal if the Reds midfielder’s club record deal is sanctioned. West Ham United’s Manuel Lanzini is said to be on Klopp’s radar as a potential replacement for the Brazilian.
“The problem they have is that they’ll get so much money for him, that when they go shopping after that they’ll pay a premium wherever they go,” said Souness.
“I’m sure there are players out there who would influence their play as much as Coutinho. Would they come to Liverpool? For sure, but they’re going to have a big war chest to spend.”