Reports: Barcelona to offer €120 million for Neymar replacement
What's the story?
Barcelona have prepared a bid of €120 million for Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho as Neymar's move to Paris Saint-Germain draws closer, according to Bleacher Report. Liverpool reportedly already rejected a bid for Coutinho earlier in the transfer window, and face a fight to keep the 25-year-old in England.
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Coutinho has emerged as one of Liverpool's best players in the past couple of seasons. The Brazilian midfielder, who was signed from Inter Milan back in 2013, scored 13 goals and provided seven assists in 28 starts for the Merseyside giants last season (in the Premier League).
Jurgen Klopp deployed the midfielder as a wide-forward last season, a position which will be vacant at Barcelona if his compatriot Neymar completes his move to PSG.
The heart of the matter
Liverpool are undoubtedly looking to build a squad to challenge for the Premier League this season, and it will be a huge blow to the Merseyside giants if they are to lose their crown jewel two weeks before the start of the Premier League season.
Klopp, despite admitting Barcelona's interest in his star player, has been bullish about the prospects of the Brazilian staying at Anfield. "I can understand that Coutinho is so highly rated, but they [Barcelona] can save their energy," he said.
With Barcelona releasing a statement regarding Neymar's transfer request, it is only a matter of time before the Brazilian joins his new teammates in France. That leaves a massive gap in the left of the front three in the Blaugrana squad, with no real replacement present.
Coutinho will undoubtedly be a very good signing, but as a player, he is different from Neymar. Also, given his lack of raw pace, he might have to drop down to midfield in the future to complete his evolution as a footballer. But, Ernesto Valverde needs to get a replacement as soon as possible, and the Liverpool man seems to be on the top of the list at the moment.
Liverpool can't afford to lose Coutinho this season. He has been their talisman and inspiration, and there are no real replacements for his quality in the Premier League, let alone the Liverpool squad.
However, in modern football it is difficult to keep a player who has had his head turned, and if reports are to be believed the Brazilian has his heart set on a move to Camp Nou. Make no mistake, this will be fought to the edge of the cliff.