Barcelona to sign Coutinho in £142m deal

Barcelona to sign Coutinho in £142m deal

Liverpool are said to be keen to replace Philippe Coutinho with Thomas Lemar, but the Reds have reportedly not made contact with Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez.

Leicester could be ready to sell Mahrez for £45m. "The player will sign a contract for the rest of the season and five more years with a release clause of 400 million euros", said a Barcelona statement.

On announcing his signing, Barcelona hailed Coutinho as "a young player with potential still to be tapped". Having resisted Barcelona's advances in the summer, Liverpool must now prepare for life without him.

Jurgen Klopp famously told the press in August: "I wasn't manager when Suarez was sold, I wasn't manager when Sterling was sold".

Riyad Mahrez is on Liverpool's radar.

Liverpool and Barcelona aren't the only ones involved in the Coutinho transfer.

"He is 100 percent certain his future - and that of his family - belongs at Barcelona", Klopp said.

Real Madrid have previously been credited with an interest, while Liverpool are also said to be monitoring developments surrounding a player that has represented Portugal on 15 occasions.

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In fairness, Barcelona are a bigger club than Liverpool, but for Coutinho to turn his nose up at the chance to be the key player in a side that could go deep into European's elite competition - ahead of a World Cup - in favour of a stroll to a La Liga title in Spain is curious.

Coutinho will rejuvenate a midfield core led by the 33-year-old Andres Iniesta and which includes Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Paulinho, who are all 29.

Since making his Premier League debut as a late substitute against West Brom back in February 2013, only Daniel Sturridge has scored more goals for Liverpool.

Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Coutinho made the leap from Brazilian club Vasco de Gama to Inter Milan in 2010.

The move would show demonstrate just how enthused the midfield is over a move to Barcelona even if his money will soon be recouped by higher wages and Nike sponsorship. "It is his dream and I am now convinced there is nothing left at our disposal to change his mind".

Losing Coutinho is an undoubted blow and replacing him may prove impossible, but the stats suggest they are already learning to cope.

"The offer follows today's announcement that Coutinho will join Barcelona and reflects the exceptional circumstances behind the player's departure", said the club.