Philippe Coutinho nearing Barcelona move with Liverpool readied for reported £142 million bid

Philippe Coutinho nearing Barcelona move with Liverpool readied for reported £142 million bid

Barcelona are set to submit a fourth bid to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho worth £142 million, of which £106 million is up-front, as they look to secure a January transfer for the Brazilian.

Charlie Malam

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho appears increasingly closer to sealing a January switch to Barcelona with the La Liga giants said to be keen on tying up a transfer this month.

Recent reports indicate that Barcelona are willing to pay around £140 million to sign want-away Coutinho, with their package including an up-front fee of £106 million and a further £35 million in add-ons related to appearances and achievements.

That would break the Premier League transfer record, currently the £89 million spent that Manchester United on Paul Pogba, and make Coutinho the third most expensive player in football history behind  compatriot Neymar and fellow Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé

It remains to be seen whether such a bid will be sufficient enough for Liverpool to accept - though they are said to have softened their previously hard-line stance.

It is thought that they are now open to sanctioning a departure, even half-way through the season, despite Coutinho's importance to Jürgen Klopp's form and his electric form this term.

The final decision is said to lie with the German, who has repeatedly spoken of his desire to work with only players who are 100 per-cent committed to the club and his project.

Reds change their stance

Selling Coutinho now would be a significant u-turn on the club's approach to Barcelona's interest in the creative midfielder back in the summer.

The Brazilian was denied his move to Camp Nou with three bids - the third a £118 million proposal which incorporated over £30 million in add-ons - and a transfer request all rejected by Liverpool. 

The Reds even published an official statement of their intent to keep the 25-year-old, owners FSG insisting their "definitive stance" was that "no offers for Philippe will be considered."

But just six months on, Liverpool are said to be open to a deal with Coutinho's representatives having pushed the club to accept an offer this month.

Coutinho and his family are thought to have their hearts set on a move to Catalonia, with the player unfazed by the danger of moving clubs at this stage of the campaign before the World Cup in the summer.

Despite Liverpool's form this season, currently sitting fourth in the Premier League and in the Champions League last-16, Coutinho wants to further his career having not won a single trophy in five years on Merseyside.

Losing Coutinho would be a blow to Liverpool given he is enjoying his best season thus far, with 12 goals and nine assists in just 20 appearances.

Coutinho keen to win trophies

But his eventual departure - this month or in the summer - will at least bring in a monumental profit on the £8.5 million that Liverpool paid to sign Coutinho from Inter Milan in January 2013.

He has scored 54 goals and laid on 46 assists in 201 appearances since then, but only has runners-up medals in the League Cup and Europa League to show - having also been knocked out in the League Cup semi-finals on three occasions and the FA Cup last four on one.

And he has been seduced by the prospect of competing for titles domestically and continentally with Barcelona, the Catalan club sitting nine points clear at the top of the Spanish top-flight table as it stands.

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp refused to talk about Coutinho in his pre-Everton press conference on Friday.

He told gathered media: "I am not interested in Barcelona sorry. What can I say about what they do? It is always the same. This year it is Phil, another year it is somebody else. There is nothing to say until there is something to say."

Coutinho is unavailable to feature in the FA Cup third-round Merseyside derby due to a thigh injury, having also missed Liverpool's New Year's Day league win over Burnley.

Liverpool are reportedly yet to look into signing a replacement this month despite long-standing interest in AS Monaco attacker Thomas Lemar, who has been linked with a £90 million move.