Barcelona ‘close’ to lur­ing Coutinho

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MADRID: Barcelona are ready to go on the trans­fer of­fen­sive and are close to sign­ing Liver­pool’s mer­cu­rial Brazil­ian, Philippe Coutinho.

Ac­cord­ing to Span­ish pub­li­ca­tion Mundo De­portivo, Ernesto Valverde’s side will ramp up their at­tempts to lure the 25-year-old to the Nou Camp.

Jur­gen Klopp has re­peat­edly de­nied that his at­tack­ing ace will leave this sum­mer and Liver­pool could de­mand an as­tro­nom­i­cal fee, given Coutinho’s cur­rent con­tract runs un­til 2022 with no re­lease clause.

But there is op­ti­mism within the Cata­lan club that their main trans­fer tar­get will seek a re­union with Luis Suarez and push for a move.

Two high-pro­file play­ers also on Barcelona’s radar are Monaco won­derkid Kylian Mbappe — Real Madrid’s No 1 tar­get — and Borus­sia Dort­mund for­ward Ous­mane Dem­bele.

The club are ex­plor­ing at­tack­ing op­tions in the event that Ney­mar de­parts to PSG for a world record £196 mil­lion (RM1.1 bil­lion).

Coutinho’s com­pa­triot could help per­suade him to join Barca but if he is to leave, the club would be flush with cash and will­ing to spend big on Klopp’s main man.

Valverde is hop­ing all deals can be con­cluded in an ef­fi­cient fashion in prepa­ra­tion for the new cam­paign.

The new boss is tar­get­ing the com­ple­tion of all busi­ness by the time his side take on Real Madrid in the first leg of the Span­ish Su­per Cup on Aug 13.

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