Liverpool are standing firm and “100 per cent” determined to keep Philippe Coutinho at the club this summer, despite the player’s emailed transfer request as he seeks a move to Barcelona, who also see Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen as an ideal alternative.
While the Brazilian’s camp remain hopeful that a deal can still be done before the end of the window, The Independent understands that the Catalan club had already started preparing for a rejection from Liverpool by investigating other attacking midfield options, and had initiated the process of trying to prise Eriksen from Spurs by making contact through intermediaries.
Sources close to the situation say Coutinho sees Barca as a dream move and had been increasingly dejected about the prospect of a transfer evaporating, although there has been some bemusement by those at Camp Nou that he signed a new five-year deal in January when their interest was known.
Having already rejected two bids of £78m and £90.4m, Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group on Friday took the assertive decision to release a statement saying “the club’s definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered and he will remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer window closes”, but that was followed by the 25-year-old’s camp emailing a transfer request.
The Independent has been told Liverpool will still not budge on their position, and see the situation as similar to when Luis Suarez tried a number of tactics to force a move in 2013, but they still held firm and didn’t sell then.
That has led Barca to look at alternatives. Some of the Catalan hierarchy also feel Eriksen could be more suited to their team due to his link-up play. Spurs are likely to be just as difficult to deal with as Liverpool, although there is a belief that Daniel Levy has a selling price for every player, even if it is likely to be over £100m given that the White Hart Lane club got over £50m for Kyle Walker.
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