Barcelona have completed the signing of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool after discussions progressed on Tuesday (8 August) and the 25-year-old will be presented to the fans on Friday (11 August). The Brazilian would be Barcelona’s first signing after the world record transfer of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.
Spanish publication El Periodico reports that the player’s agent travelled to Barcelona to close the deal while a delegation from the Catalan giants travelled to Liverpool to reach an agreement with the club. Coutinho had intensified discussions with the club to let him leave and has spoken to manager Jurgen Klopp to get his approval on the transfer, despite the managers repeated claims that the midfielder is not for sale at any price.
Neymar’s transfer to PSG in a world-record €222m (£200m, $262m) deal earlier this month had led to massive speculation over Coutinho’s future, as Barcelona look to bring in replacements to make up for the loss of their star striker. The midfielder is expected to cost upwards of £100m ($130m), with a report in the Times stating that an agreement can be reached for a fee in the range of £120m ($155m).
The transfer would be against the wishes of Klopp, who has repeatedly stated that the midfielder is not for sale and insisted that he has the backing of the board on this as well. This is the second time in the last three years that the Reds are set to allow their top performer to move over to over to the Catalan giants, with Luis Suarez completing a move after a brilliant season at Anfield in 2014.
The Spanish giants are set to embark on a spending spree and are reported to have agreed on personal terms with Borussia Dortmund winger Ousmane Dembele. The Catalan club will now focus on completing a deal for the winger following the Brazilian’s move and are now favourites to clinch his signature despite interest from arch rivals Real Madrid and Premier League side Arsenal.
The 20-year-old attacker, who had previously expressed a desire to play for the Spanish club, joined Dortmund from Rennes last summer and made 49 appearances across all competitions. He contributed with 10 goals and 21 assists to help the German club win the BFB Pokal and can play both on the left wing and as an attacking midfielder.