Barcelona reportedly agree £148.5 million fee for Coutinho
Have Barcelona finally closed the deal for the man that could save their reputation?
What's the story?
Barcelona have been on a splurge in the past few weeks with the newly acquired €222 million from the reluctant sale of Neymar Jr. already going into the purchase of Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande and the scintillating Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for a combined figure of €150 or thereabouts (although if we include all of Dembele's add-ons and bonuses, his fee alone will touch that figure)
Days after smashing their own club record fee for Dembele, though, the Catalans are set to take a hammer to it again as reports from the Express suggest that they have finally (!) agreed a fee for the man they've been behind all summer - Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. The reports suggest that a fee of around £148.5 million - or €160 million.
In case you didn't know
Earlier this week, Barca's sporting director Robert Fernandez had announced that they were in negotiations with a player - without confirming his identity: “We are negotiating with a player with the possibility that he can arrive. We hope it ends well. We hope to be able to present a new player. One could arrive or two could arrive. We are negotiating. My intention is that another player arrives and if possible two.” he said. One of those players now looks likely to be Coutinho.
The heart of the matter
After a strong show of willpower from the Fenway Sports Group (owners of Liverpool FC) - something that was greatly appreciated by LFC fans the world over - it appears that they are convinced they've got a great deal for the 25-year-old Brazilian playmaker.
hasn't played a minute this season, complaining of a back strain, but is likely to feature in the coming fortnight's two internationals for Brazil - a clear indication that he has been trying to force a transfer away from Anfield. It appears that after nearly two months of high drama - the kind that would have put the Bold and the Beautiful to shame - he's got what he wanted.
The reports state that Barca will make the announcement only after Liverpool confirm the signing of a replacement - the Reds are said to be close to signing Monaco's exciting young winger Thomas Lemar and/or Arsenal's disgruntled utility man Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Here's Coutinho doing his thing for Liverpool
Could he be the long term replacement for Iniesta that the Blaugrana have been searching for?
This might just work out to be a win-win for both parties. Liverpool are playing some of the most exciting football on the planet - without Coutinho anywhere near their squad - and are lined up to sign on some exciting talent. The money from the sale could also be used to attract Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton and shore up the biggest weakness the title aspirants have.
For Barcelona, meanwhile, Coutinho could inject the element of artistic brilliance to a midfield that has appeared almost Tony Pulis-esque workmanlike in the recent past.