Barcelona close in on amazing £102m Neymar replacement

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Barcelona are set to step up their chase for Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho as they desperately look to replace Paris Saint-Germain-bound Neymar.

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The Blaugrana have been rocked by PSG’s apparent ability to pay the Brazilian’s £196million buyout clause and the player’s desire to leave. It is said that Neymar wants to win the ‘FIFA Best’ award and feels he will have a better chance of doing so away from the shadow of current teammate and good friend Lionel Messi.

This deal would obliterate the previous world transfer record and cause Barça to seriously consider their next move. The likes of Paulo Dybala, Ousmane Dembele and even Kylian Mbappe have been rumoured as possible replacements for Neymar, but Coutinho, an international teammate and close friend of the Brazilian, is the number one target for chiefs at the Camp Nou.

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp could scarcely have been clearer with his stance on the matter, claiming there is no way Coutinho will be sold. The playmaker only signed a new long-term contract at Anfield last season, and after returning to the Champions League last season, the Reds are in a strong position to hold onto one of their main assets.

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But even if Neymar leaves Catalunya, the pull of the club could be too strong for Coutinho. So many great Brazilian players have represented Barcelona, and the idea of playing with Lionel Messi, let alone the presence of his former Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez, could force Coutinho into pushing for a move away from the Premier League.

Reports have suggested that one bid has already been turned down, but the Daily Mail is claiming a second, in excess of £120million, will be launched in the coming days, with time running out to bed him into the team before the Spanish league season starts.

Coutinho’s links to Barça are nothing new, but when he was originally brought up as a possible target, it was as a replacement for the ageing Andres Iniesta in midfield, rather than Neymar out on the left wing. It remains to be seen whether he will join, and if he does whether the Spanish giants can still mount genuine challenges for both the LaLiga title and the Champions League, two competitions they have dominated in recent years.

Brazil's team players Philippe Coutinho (L) and Neymar (R) take part in a training session at the Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 25, 2017 ahead of a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier match against Paraguay on March 28 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. / AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA

One thing is for sure, if all this speculation turns out to be correct, this will be the most amazing transfer window of all time.

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