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Will Coutinho be joining Barcelona before the end of the summer?

The Brazilian has been surrounded by speculation for the last couple of weeks and a move to last season’s La Liga runners up looks more likely by the day. But doubt still surrounds Philippe Coutinho and whether he will in fact be departing Liverpool before the transfer window closes.

Barcelona are wasting no time with their plans to spend all the £198m they received from PSG as Neymar packed his bags for Paris. They have already had a £90m bid for Coutinho rejected, despite some believing that the 25-year-old is not worth half that sum. However, the world of football knows how much money Barcelona now have in their back pocket, and so teams will be upping their asking price for bids coming from that direction.

It doesn’t look like the Catalans have given up the pursuit of Coutinho, as Spanish reports state that a bid of around £108m is imminent. With an absurd figure such as that, surely it would be ridiculous to hold the unsettled midfielder back. Of course, the club would be losing arguably their finest player of the last few years, but the large sum of money should easily buy an adequate replacement. With Firmino, Mané and Salah all scoring in the 3-3 draw to Watford on Saturday, the money may be better placed on defender to try and sure up the back four.

Everything points towards a move to Spain being the most sensible outcome for all parties involved, but Coutinho’s judgement is likely a tad cloudy after the possibility of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world has been revealed to him. After all, he signed a new 5-year contract with the Reds just 7 months ago and should understand that the club will be doing all they can to keep hold of him. The Brazilian probably fears that this could be his only chance to play for Barcelona and will be desperate to leave. However, Andrés Iniesta’s contract runs out next year and Coutinho could be seen as a suitable replacement.

Anyhow, there are claims that Jürgen Klopp is already eyeing up potential replacements in central midfield, Monaco’s Jean Michael Seri being one of them, a player who has attracted attention from a number of top clubs, including Premier League rivals Arsenal. The Reds may need to pay over the 26-year-old’s £36m release clause in order to fight off the competition for his signature.

Football fans and pundits alike seem to have contrasting opinions about whether Philippe Coutinho should leave this summer, some believing that he should not pass up the opportunity to play for such an acclaimed team as Barcelona, but others encouraging him to stay loyal to Liverpool. The outcome looks like it could be revealed in the next few days.

Harry Mahon

90maat's team correspondent for Tottenham Hotspur, graduate of Loughborough University and current student at the University of Surrey.

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