Barcelona target signs bumper five-year deal with Liverpool-but is a transfer really dead in the water?

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Philippe Coutinho has moved to end speculation over his immediate future by signing a new, five-year deal with Liverpool.

The long-standing Barcelona target put pen to paper earlier today on a lucrative extension that will see him contracted to the Anfield club until 2022 and earn a figure of around £150,000 per week.

The improved terms mean that the gifted attacking midfielder is now Liverpool’s highest paid player, eclipsing the likes of England international Daniel Strurridge and club captain Jordan Henderson.

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Coutinho’s renewal will be regarded as something of a coup for the Reds, who have moved quickly to tie up their prized asset on a long-term deal amid interest from Barcelona. The Blaugrana have been monitoring the Brazilian’s excellent form for Klopp’s men so far this season and had reportedly been contemplating a bid for his services.

There had been talk of the contract potentially containing a buy-out clause for potential suitors but, importantly, it is understood that Coutinho’s new deal does not contain such an agreement.

It remains to be seen if this will deter the La Liga giants from launching a bid for the 24-year-old over the summer, however, it does, at the very least, mean that the Merseysiders will be able to demand big-money should he decide to leave in the coming seasons.

Speaking shortly after the announcement, the diminutive playmaker told Liverpool FC TV that a sense of belonging drove him to signing the extension.

“I signed this new contract to stay here for a few more years because it’s a great honour for me.

“It gives me great happiness because I was welcomed here with open arms by everyone at the club and the supporters right from my first day.”

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp meanwhile, suggested that the news was symbolic of the positive strides Liverpool have been making on the pitch in recent months.

“This is wonderful news,” he said. “He is truly world class – in that very top bracket. He knows he can fulfil his dreams and ambitions here at Liverpool.”

Coutinho has scored 34 goals in 163 appearances for Liverpool since moving from Internazionale in the winter of 2013.

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