Liverpool transfer news: Coutinho deal 'confirmed', Reds keeping tabs on £40M replacement and more - 1st January 2018
Nike website confirms" Philippe Coutinho signing
The Philippe Coutinho transfer saga took an unexpected turn when Barcelona's kit sponsors Nike accidentally confirmed the Brazilian's signing on their website.
Liverpool is said to have received multiple bids from Barcelona in the summer for their star man but the Reds managed to keep hold of Coutinho despite the player trying to force his way out of the club.
However, Liverpool fans were shell-shocked when they came across the advertisement on Nike's online store, which read: "Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. Get your 2017-18 FC Barcelona kit with the Magician's name on it. Act fast – free personalization only available until 6 January."
Nike later took down the page and it remains to be seen if it was one of a PR blunder or just another case of online hacking.
There are rumours that the advertisement was only supposed to go out after the clubs had officially agreed on a deal and it is believed that the Virgil van Dijk deal was pulled off with the profits from Coutinho's sale.
Despite all that, Jurgen Klopp revealed that he is under no pressure to balance the books by selling Coutinho to Barcelona. “Nobody told me that. I have no information about that. No,” Klopp said. “We have good players that we don’t have to sell anybody. So fair play to our owners that they are ambitious and now we have to use the team to grow together."
Liverpool identify Manuel Lanzini as Coutinho replacement
According to the Express, Liverpool has identified West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini as the ideal replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who is set to join Barcelona very soon.
The Argentine has impressed for the Hammers ever since joining them from Al Jazira, initially on a loan deal with an option to make it permanent, which was later triggered by West Ham after his successful loan stint.
The 24-year-old is reportedly valued at around £40m by the club and a deal could only materialize depending on when Barcelona decide to pounce on Coutinho.
The midfielder has established himself as a star performer for West Ham over the years and it is believed that he is now ready to make the shift to becoming a regular at a top club like Liverpool.
Lanzini has registered 4 assists in the league so far this season and his only goal came against Liverpool in a 4-1 loss at home.
Reds join Everton in the race for Josh Earl
Liverpool is prepared to go head to head with local rivals Everton for the signature of Preston North End left-back Josh Earl, according to reports in England.
The 19-year-old broke into the first team this season under manager Alex Neil and has produced some top-notch performances for the Lilywhites.
The towering full-back, who stands at 6ft 5in, has made 12 appearances in the Championship and was handed a new contract earlier this season to ward off several Premier League sides from making a move for their prized asset.
“Josh has been excellent, he's been a real surprise for me because I didn't really know anything about him," Aleix Neil added. “I think for what he has done in the first team he has been rightly rewarded [with a new deal], he has all the attributes to become a top player for us going forward.”
Liverpool is looking at a major overhaul to strengthen their defence under Klopp and it looks like Earl is one of the main targets to help fill the problematic left-back position.