Reports: Barcelona end Coutinho pursuit
What's the story?
The Coutinho transfer saga has come to an unlikely conclusion and according to Sky Sports, against the run of current, Barcelona have now ended their interest in Philippe Coutinho.
According to the report, Barcelona had marked 7 pm on Sunday as the deadline for acceptance and since the Scousers have remained unshaken, the deal seems to have fallen apart.
Barcelona's latest offer stood at a whopping £113m.
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Jurgen Klopp had made it abundantly clear in his press conferences that Coutinho is not for sale. He had also insisted that no matter how much cash Barcelona are willing to offer, he will not go back on that decision.
Even the club's owners had released a statement saying a Coutinho sale is not happening. However, Coutinho handed in a transfer request a couple of hours later and it looked like Liverpool will head into the new season one sandwich short of a picnic.
The heart of the matter
Nou Camp is Coutinho's dream destination and this is no secret. However, Coutinho is an integral part of Jurgen Klopp's plans and the news that came out from the Liverpool camp was that the Brazilian had pledged his loyalty to the club and that he was keen on staying.
However, after the Neymar sale, Barcelona had zeroed in on Coutinho to bolster their ranks. An early bid of £72m was immediately rejected by Liverpool and Klopp insisted that they are not selling Coutinho.
Liverpool haven't been open to offers and had not even sit down to negotiate a deal for the 25-year-old.
Guillem Balague has sent out tweets explaining the situation and he has confirmed that Liverpool have not replied to Barcelona's bid that came with a deadline. Since no intimation was received by the Catalans, they are very likely to keep their word and cool off their interest in Coutinho.
Barcelona are now looking at Jean Michael Seri of OGC Nice to bring some quality to an aging midfield. La Blaugrana are also close to signing Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund. Barca were already in debt and on top of that they will need to fork out close to £170m to bring the duo to Nou Camp. If these deals go through, they will not be in a position to afford any more players.
Coutinho is inarguably Liverpool's best player and losing him so late in the transfer window was likely to push them into a bit of trouble.
Barcelona have a lot of summer activity to attend to as their recent showings after Neymar's departure has been dismal and they look like they're desperately in need of reinforcements to their entire line-up.
This is likely to end all Coutinho speculations and as Liverpool get their main man to stay, they will hope that they can mount a title challenge this season.