Philippe Coutinho seals winter switch to Barcelona

Barcelona have reportedly reached an agreement with Liverpool over a proposed move to sign Philippe Coutinho this month. The Brazil international had been leaning towards a move to the Catalan giants earlier in the summer, and he has finally got his wish, subject to international clearance and acceptance of personal terms.

The overall valuation of the transfer has yet to be confirmed, but according to ESPN, the Reds are said to have agreed on a British-record package of £142m which would make Coutinho the second-most expensive player in the world behind compatriot Neymar, who left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017.

The 25-year-old is due to make an appearance among the Catalan faithful during Barcelona’s La Liga game versus Levante on Sunday afternoon, and he could by then have penned a contract lasting until the summer of 2023 with a buy-out clause set at €400m.

Coutinho had initially been seen as a straight replacement for Neymar on the left wing, but his ability to control the play from a central attacking role may capture the eye of Ernesto Valverde. Nevertheless, the club won’t have the services of Coutinho for the Champions League with the attacker having already featured for the Reds in the elite competition.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had tried his utmost in order to convince Coutinho to stay put at the club, and the player’s loss is likely to leave a significant void in the attack front. Mohamed Salah has lead the attack with promise since the start of the campaign, but the Reds could be hampered in certain games with the Egyptian tending to miss crucial chances.

The Merseyside are currently occupying the final Champions League spot, and they will have the aim of preserving the position whilst seeking to bag some kind of silverware from the FA Cup, which gives them a more realistic chance than the Champions League.