Barcelona haven’t given up hope of signing Brazilian maestro Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool but will embrace a low-profile approach when the winter transfer window opens in January.
The Blaugrana were involved in a desperate pursuit of the 25-year-old over the summer as they scrambled to sort out a replacement for Neymar.
While nothing materialised, Philippe Coutinho’s relationship with the Merseyside club soured significantly.
He was left out of Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League playoff matches with Hoffenheim, the club citing back injuries for an explanation, despite the former Inter Milan man turning out for Brazil on international duty in August.
While his eventual return for the club has yielded some positive results, including four goals in eight appearances in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League, one must consider where the Brazilian’s mind really is after coming so close to moving to one of the biggest clubs in world football.
“We are (financially) prepared to sign (Philippe) Coutinho or any other player in January,” said Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau at a news conference earlier this month.
While Grau spoke directly of the Liverpool man, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde merely alluded to the prospect of signing the Brazilian in the January window.
“If there is interest in signing any player in January who’s not here at the moment, I wouldn’t like it to be broadcast all over the world,” said Valverde when asked by the press if he was interested in Philippe Coutinho.
A possible stumbling block for Barcelona – aside from obvious hesitation from Liverpool to lose one of the best players half-way through the season – would be Coutinho’s inability to play for Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League this season, as he’s cup-tied after representing Liverpool in the group stages.
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