Barcelona are planning a £120m bid for Philippe Coutinho in January, according to MailOnline.
The La Liga giants failed in their attempts to sign the Brazil international in the summer but Chief Executive Oscar Grau has recently admitted they have not yet given up on bringing him to the Nou Camp.
“We are ready to buy Coutinho in the winter market, or any player the technical staff request.”
Liverpool stood their ground in their attempts to keep hold of their prized possession but may be forced in to selling eventually, whether it’s in January or indeed next summer.
But with £120m reportedly on the table, should Liverpool just take the money and run in the new year? We’ve asked our writers what they think of the matter…
Sell, sell, sell. Yes, Coutinho can smack a shot in from 25-yards every so often but I still don’t think he brings enough to the team in open play.
With Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana in their ranks they have the attacking players that they need to be successful. Now is the time to cash in on Coutinho – especially with Naby Keita arriving next summer – and spend the £120m on strengthening their defence properly, which is something that has been needed ever since Jurgen Klopp took the reins.
As a Southampton fan I know that Virgil van Dijk would be a great addition, but I hope he ends up somewhere else.
During the summer window, I grew increasingly frustrated with the Coutinho/Barcelona transfer saga, to the point where I thought it best for Liverpool to accept the astronomical figure and shut the door behind him.
However, judging by the performances of the season so far, there is no doubt that he is head and shoulders above some of his teammates and losing him would have been a huge blow. Sadio Mane has become just as important as Coutinho, but with the Senegal international facing six weeks on the sidelines, the fans can be thankful that Jurgen Klopp still has a certain Brazilian to call upon.
I’m sure the elephant in the room (Barcelona move) will be revisited at the end of the season, but to sell Coutinho in January would be foolish.
Philippe Coutinho is a brilliant footballer. He is not, however, one of the best players in the world. In fact, he is considerably short of that level.
If Barcelona come up with £120m in January, Liverpool would be incredibly naive to reject such an offer. The 25-year-old has three goals in six matches this season, but he rarely dominates games against the big boys.
In my view, Sadio Mane is more important to the Reds. They should tie Emre Can to a new contract, take £120m for Coutinho and launch a big-money move for Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
£120m felt like a lot of money for Liverpool to turn down in the summer, and the same logic will apply in January as the transfer market’s rate of inflation still seems utterly unpredictable. They could get much less waiting until next summer.
But the situation was the same when they refused to sell in August, and despite being offered a fortune, Liverpool couldn’t spend the money they already had, failing to land Virgil van Dijk and admitting defeat in their quest to prise Naby Keita from RB Leipzig a season earlier than the German side had made it clear they wanted to sell.
If they sell Coutinho in January, they’ll be in the same mess they would have been in last summer: millions of pounds richer, but a creative player short and with no prospect of replacing him until after the end of the season.
The smart move is to sell Coutinho at the peak of his value and that’s exactly the situation Liverpool are in right now, so they need to take the money.
The pressure was on to sell him in the summer, but if the Reds can command a similar fee in January then their stance will have been proved right; they got another six months out of an excellent talent and still bagged the big cash.
Delaying his transfer beyond January would be risky business though, there’s lots of work to be done to turn that Liverpool team into real contenders and his fee can be re-invested into more critical areas.
With Naby Keita arriving at the end of the season and Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane now flanking the forward line, the timing feels right to cash in on Philippe Coutinho – especially if Barcelona offer the same kind of money that was on the table during the summer.
Adam Lallana is due to return from injury next month as well and although he’s not quite on Coutinho’s level, he’s got enough quality to fill the playmaking void for the end of the season.
In truth, though, it will likely depend on where Liverpool are in the table compared to their aims for the season when the next bid comes in.