Barcelona ‘could offer players’ in bid to sign Philippe Coutinho this summer

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Barcelona are said to be discussing a possible players-plus-cash deal to sign Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho ahead of next season.

As is always the case with the Liga giants, speculation linking Coutinho with Barcelona is unlikely to go away any time soon.

This is despite the 24-year-old signing a new five-year contract with the Reds back in January, and stressing his desire to “achieve greatness and win titles” on Merseyside.

The latest line comes from Spanish publication Sport, who claim that Barcelona have held talks with Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, about a summer switch.

However, two things are said to stand in the way of the Catalan giants as they consider a bid for the No. 10.

Firstly, Coutinho’s importance to the Reds, and the £75 million fee paid to take Luis Suarez to the Nou Camp in 2014, would necessitate a similar offer to tempt Liverpool.

And with the forward now the highest earner at Anfield, at £150,000 a week, Barcelona would be required to present an improved wage offer if a deal was brokered.

This would land Coutinho in a similar pay bracket to Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets, and just below Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi.

It would be a difficult negotiation for Barcelona, and Sport claim they are considering other options.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 6, 2016: Barcelona's Arda Turan looks dejected after missing a chance against Liverpool during the International Champions Cup match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Namely, this could come in the form of a player-plus-cash deal for Coutinho, with Barcelona able to offer a host of fringe players in exchange for the former Inter Milan star.

Arda Turan, Denis Suarez, Lucas Digne, Rafinha and Jeremy Mathieu are among those to play under 2,000 minutes for the club in all competitions this season.

Three of those have been regularly linked with moves to Anfield in the past, with Arda, Digne and Rafinha often linked with the Reds.

If Coutinho were to make the switch to Barcelona, Arda or Rafinha could offer replacements as part of Klopp’s starting lineup, while Digne could solve the club’s left-back problem.

It must be noted that exchange deals are rarely executed in a straightforward manner, and particularly so with clubs in England.

And furthermore, given Coutinho’s commitment to Liverpool, opting to leave at the end of the season would be a strange move by the Brazil international.

But his is a name that sells papers in Spain, with Barcelona coveting the Little Magician.

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