Barcelona offer £77m for Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho: Squad number reserved and contract offer made

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Speculation over Barcelona’s push to sign Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho is set to move into overdrive with the Nou Camp side readying a massive package they hope will tempt the Brazilian into pushing for an Anfield exit.

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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has identified the 24-year-old as the La Liga title holder’s next major addition and has been given the backing of the club’s money men to make a very strong offer for the former Inter Milan man.

Though Coutinho is very happy with life at Liverpool it’s likely that the chance to move to Barcelona will excite the creative attacking midfielder and having already successfully raided the Merseyside outfit to land Luis Suarez the Catalan club are confident they can win the race for for the Anfield man.

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Barcelona are ready to offer Liverpool either a straight cash offer in the region of €90m (£77m) or make a player plus cash deal, which is the sort that Bartomeu prefers.

Among those who will be made available is Arda Turan, with the player said to be one Barcelona feel they can afford to lose.

In relation to Turan it is the Turkish international’s current number seven squad number that will be offered to Coutinho.

Coutinho signed a new long-term contact with Liverpool in February 2015 which runs until 2020 and said to be worth £70k a week and perhaps most importantly for the Premier League side, that deal does not include a buyout clause.

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Barcelona are ready to offer a deal that would almost double his current wage and when you add into the mix that Coutinho’s best friend, Neymar, is currently at the European giants you can see how hard it may prove for Liverpool to retain the player’s services.

Luis Enrique is keen to bring in Coutinho to boost his creative midfield options and Barcelona’s chances of bringing in the player will be greatly increased if Liverpool fail to keep up their current push for a first Premier League title.

If Jurgen Klopp’s side fall away to such an extent that they miss out of a Champions League berth then that task becomes that little bit more plausible.

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Liverpool helped to salvage Coutinho’s career when they signed up the South American in January 2013, bringing to an end an Inter Milan career that saw the hugely talented performer treading water.

Coutinho has gone on to more than repay the faith Liverpool showed in his abilities but that may not be enough to engender the level of loyalty needed to ignore offers from perhaps the most successful club in European football at the present time.

Last season Coutinho bagged 12 goals and seven assists across all competitions and secured a more prominent role in the Brazilian national team set-up.

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In 2016/17 the Liverpool man has proven even more effective and has formed a strong partnership with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in Klopp’s new look attack.

Coutinho’s outstanding solo goal against Argentina earlier this month will have no doubt added a few more million to his valuation and the Liverpool star is now very much a wanted man and arguably one of the best players in world football at this point in time and as such it’s not a surprise that Barcelona would seek to secure his signature.

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