Reports: Real Madrid set to steal £132 million superstar away from Barcelona
What's the story?
Oh! Barcelona. Oh! Oh! Barcelona.
Everything seemed to be going so swimmingly well for Barcelona... an eight-point lead over Real Madrid, Los Blancos looking about as solid as a house of cards, Lionel Messi in the form of his life (and that's saying something) and Ernesto Valverde looking like he means business... and just then good ol' Florentino Perez decides it's time to make things interesting.
Well, That is what the good folk over at Mundo Deportivo believe at least. They report that after having spent the whole of 2017 chasing Philippe Coutinho and being rejected like never-before, Barcelona will now have Real Madrid to contend with as they continue the chase for the Brazilian playmaker.
In case you didn't know
Perez has seen enough after his circumspect spending in this summer's transfer window has left Real way behind in their defence of the startling double they won last year, and it appears that the lackadaisical performance against Tottenham Hotspur was the final straw that broke the camel's back.
Perez feels he needs a statement signing, if not in January, then during the next summer break and believes that Liverpool would be more willing to sell to him, and for considerably lower, than Barcelona after the shenanigans the Catalan giants put up this summer in their pursuit of Coutinho.
The heart of the matter
Barcelona had been lining up Coutinho as a long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta - but had failed in their pursuit due to Liverpool's obstinacy and determination to not be seen as a selling club (according to the Merseysiders) and/or Liverpool's asking price (according to the Catalans).
They are determined to land their man, though, aided hugely by the fact that Coutinho seems desperate to join them, even handing over a transfer request this summer. In this scenario, Real Madrid's entry into the scene creates a lot more trouble for the Catalans.
This is what everyone is fighting over -
The lad can play, eh?
Yes this is exactly who Real Madrid need - a diminutive, kinda-selfish, not-so-fast-but-with-great-feet playmaker - 'cos they don't have any of that kind at the Bernabeu now, neh?
Oh, welcome back ye good ol' days of inane Galactico buying (and messing about with Barcelona in the transfer market just for giggles).