Reports: Liverpool keen on signing Real Madrid midfielder
What's the story?
With just over a week remaining in the summer transfer window, Liverpool's tug of war with Barcelona over Philippe Coutinho is yet to reach a climax. The ball is supposedly in Barcelona's court, with the La Liga giants expected to wrap up the deal in the coming week.
Reports from the Daily Express suggest that Liverpool have already reached a verbal agreement with La Liga champions Real Madrid for midfielder Mateo Kovacic, in case Coutinho completes a move to Barcelona.
In case you didn't know...
Barcelona have incessantly pursued Philippe Coutinho, whom they consider an appropriate replacement for the recently departed Neymar. The La Liga giants had even tabled a bid of £118 million for the star but Liverpool are believed to have mercilessly shot the offer down.
However, Barcelona are touted to come back with an improved bid as they refuse to take no for an answer. The coming week could see Ernesto Valverde's side submit an improved, £130 million, which could very well see Coutinho don a Barcelona jersey in the near future.
The heart of the matter
Despite holding onto the Brazilian for dear life, manager Jurgen Klopp could be rendered helpless if an appropriate offer is made, and the German has already begun to consider alternatives to replace the 25-year-old.
Barring Mohamed Salah, Liverpool have been unable to land a big name transfer this window and are expected to go all out if they do lose Coutinho. Real Madrid's Kovacic has reportedly emerged as the primary targer for Jurgen Klopp, and Liverpool could launch a bid imminently.
Meanwhile, Mateo Kovacic arrived at the Bernabeu two seasons ago and has since made 75 appearances for the Los Blancos. However, manager Zinedine Zidane's rotational policy, added to Marco Asensio's meteoric rise, has ensured limited play time for the Croatian.
Preceded by the likes of Isco, Marco Asensio, Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the pecking order at Real Madrid, Kovacic is bound to struggle to find first team football at Madrid and could favor a move elsewhere.
Further, the former Inter Milan man has expressed his desire to play in a more attacking position - which is extremely unlikely in a team that features Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
On the other hand, Liverpool are in dire need of an attacking midfielder and could be an ideal destination for Kovacic.
Kovacic seems to be a tailor-made solution to Liverpool's woes, with the midfielder capable of bringing to the table exactly what the Reds require.
Should Coutinho actually bid farewell to Anfield, Liverpool should look no further than Kovacic for a suitable replacement.