Barca plan­ning win­ter swoop for Liver­pool’s star Brazil­ian Coutinho

Evening Express (City Final) - - Sport -

BARCELONA are pre­par­ing to launch a fresh at­tempt to sign Philippe Coutinho dur­ing the win­ter trans­fer win­dow af­ter be­ing thwarted by Liver­pool over the sum­mer. Coutinho handed in a trans­fer re­quest in an ef­fort to en­gi­neer a move to the Cata­lan giants, who had three bids re­jected as the Reds made clear they were un­will­ing to part with their star man at any price.

The 25-year-old has since been eased back into the first-team pic­ture fol­low­ing a back in­jury and has un­der­lined his im­por­tance to Liver­pool with goals in each of his last three out­ings.

Barca are un­will­ing to con­cede de­feat in their pur­suit of the Brazil mid­fielder and are set to test Liver­pool’s re­solve in Jan­uary – although any new ar­rivals must be off­set by de­par­tures. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Os­car Grau said: “We are ready to buy Coutinho in the win­ter mar­ket or any player the tech­ni­cal staff re­quest.

“But it is im­por­tant to ad­just our­selves, so if there are to be ar­rivals, there must be ex­its as well.”

Barca sold Coutinho’s in­ter­na­tional team­mate Ney­mar to Paris St Ger­main for a world record 222 mil­lion Euros (£200.6m) fee in Au­gust.

But Grau added: “We must for­get about the price paid for Ney­mar last sum­mer. “Af­ter taxes we re­ceived about 188m Euros in in­come and a di­rect fi­nan­cial im­pact on the club’s trea­sury of 144m Euros.”

Liver­pool’s Philippe Coutinho.

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