Liverpool and Barcelona have already come to an agreement over the transfer of Philippe Coutinho to Nou Camp next summer.
That is the view of former Reds midfielder Jason McAteer, who stated his belief that the Anfield-based side are likely to have already shaken hands on allowing the Brazilian to move to Catalonia after this season.
McAteer was speaking to beIN Sports about the ongoing transfer saga concerning Coutinho, and he revealed that he wouldn’t be surprised if Liverpool and La Blaugrana had put together a deal not too dissimilar from the one that saw Luis Suarez eventually leave Merseyside back in 2013.
He said: “Do you want me to be completely honest? I think Coutinho will go in the summer.
“I think it was another Suarez situation. I think it was: ‘Give me [Jurgen Klopp] another season. Just give me one more season.’
“And, at the end of the day, you would feel Coutinho would worry whether Barcelona would come back for him.
“But Coutinho was never a Neymar replacement. Coutinho is an [Andres] Iniesta replacement. That’s what it’s for.
“Iniesta is gonna be there for life. But he’s only got another season. He’s not gonna play consistently next season, or the season after. He’s on his way down, Iniesta. Coutinho, I feel, was always that replacement.
“They will come back for him in the summer. I’ve got no doubt about it. I think the deal, possibly, has already been done.”
Media reports on Wednesday had claimed that Liverpool had “informed” Barcelona that it would take around £135m for them to consider selling Coutinho to them, with the message being passed on by one of the playmaker’s advisers – Kia Joorabchian – during the FIFA ‘The Best’ Awards bash in London on Monday.
The Reds rejected four offers from Barca for Coutinho in the summer window and, despite the ex-Inter Milan man wanting to leave, he has knuckled down and continued to play for Jurgen Klopp’s men.