French giants set to rival Barcelona for top Premier League star
Liverpool were able to refute the advances of Barcelona when it came to Philippe Coutinho last summer, but they could face a battle to keep him away from another European rival at the end of this season.
? PSG's absolute summer transfer window priority is Liverpool attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho (Téléfoot) pic.twitter.com/ayd0FglwxC— Anything Liverpool (@AnythingLFC_) October 30, 2017
Reports in France linking PSG with a move for the Brazilian have been picked up by The Sun, and they appear set to test the Reds with a mega bid. Jurgen Klopp made it clear he did not want Coutinho to leave and his importance to the team has been evident since his move to Barcelona failed to materialise. The player himself did everything in his power to engineer a move to the Camp Nou, and while it remains to be seen whether the Catalans will return with another pursuit next summer, it is likely he will push for a departure again in a year’s time.
Whether he would be as interested in a move to France as he appeared to be in Spain is not yet known either. He has been viewed as a long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta at Barcelona and he would have been paid for with the money received from Neymar’s move to PSG. Moving to the Parc des Princes would see him join up with his international teammate and close friend; ironically, it Neymar was originally reported to be attempting to persuade Coutinho to join Barcelona before his own stunning transfer in the off-season.
PSG have been under Qatari ownership since 2011, but have only now begun to make a real impact in terms of transfers this summer. By signing Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, while avoiding UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, the French giants have made themselves one of the favourites for Champions League success over the coming years and the project may be a tough one for Coutinho to turn down.
Coutinho appears happy at Anfield but has never hidden his desire to leave in the summer. He handed in a transfer request which made his position clear. Liverpool proved they had more power in the situation last summer, but they may struggle to repeat that feat in the summer, especially if clubs spend this season preparing bids.