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Barcelona ‘ready to buy’ Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho in January

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho (PA)
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho (PA)

BARCELONA are preparing to launch a fresh attempt to sign Philippe Coutinho during the winter transfer window after being thwarted by Liverpool over the summer.

Coutinho handed in a transfer request in an effort to engineer a move to the Catalan giants, who had three bids rejected as the Reds made clear they were unwilling to part with their star man at any price.

The 25-year-old has since been eased back into the first-team picture following a back injury and has underlined his importance to Liverpool with goals in each of his last three outings.

Barca are unwilling to concede defeat in their pursuit of the Brazil midfielder and are set to test Liverpool’s resolve in January – although any new arrivals must be offset by departures.

Chief executive Oscar Grau said in quotes reported in several national newspapers: “We are ready to buy Coutinho in the winter market or any player the technical staff request.

“But it is important to adjust ourselves, so if there are to be arrivals, there must be exits as well.”

Barca sold Coutinho’s international team-mate Neymar to Paris St Germain for a world record 222million euros (£200.6million) fee in August.

But Grau added: “We must forget about the price paid for Neymar last summer. After taxes we received about 188million euros in income and a direct financial impact on the club’s treasury of 144million euros.”

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