Transfer Rumor Roundup: Barcelona preparing fresh bid for Coutinho, and more
Liverpool FC appears to be preparing to lose one of its biggest stars in the coming months.
According to a report from Sky Sports News’ Guillem Balague, Barcelona is preparing to launch another bid for Philippe Coutinho worth nearly $180 million, and the report states that Liverpool is now more likely to accept an offer, whether in January or after the World Cup this summer.
The Reds rejected a trio of offers for Coutinho over the summer despite the Brazilian lodging a transfer request with the front office. The last bid was reportedly worth around $150 million, which before Neymar’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain would have been a record transfer bid.
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19 - Philippe Coutinho has scored 19 Premier League goals from outside the box - one more than Robbie Fowler and second only to Steven Gerrard (33) among Liverpool players. Gifted.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 26, 2017
It would be very surprising to see Liverpool offload Coutinho now, with the team still in the race for a UEFA Champions League position for next year as well as this year’s Champions League knockout stage. At the same time, Coutinho would have to adjust to a new club and new setting just six months before a World Cup, which may keep him in Liverpool until then.
The report states that Coutinho signing a new contract at Liverpool is the least likely outcome, a very disappointing note for the Merseyside club.
Here’s some more transfer rumors around the Premier League and Europe:
Jesus injury could speed up Sanchez to Man City
Manchester City may have been reticent to sign Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez during this transfer window, when Man City could get him for free this summer, but with Gabriel Jesus facing a couple of months on the sideline, they could change their minds.
That’s per Marca in Spain, which speculates that Man City could accelerate the process of signing Sanchez and shelling out some cash to Arsenal in exchange for one of the Premier League’s best attackers, who can play as a lone striker or anywhere along the front three of attacking midfielders.
Jesus and Man City received some good news this week as his knee ligament injury won’t require surgery, but the Brazilian forward will miss at least one to two months of action. With Arsene Wenger resigned to losing both Sanchez and Mesut Ozil this summer, perhaps now is the time that Man City can scoop in and sign Sanchez as injury cover and overall improvements in their Premier League title push.
Luiz, Batshuayi could leave Chelsea in January
Antonio Conte is prepared for two of his squad players - both of whom cost a combined $90 million in transfer fees - to leave Chelsea this month.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Chelsea’s match with Arsenal, Conte said that he understands if David Luiz and Michy Batshuayi leave in search of more playing time. Batshuayi has played second-fiddle to Alvaro Morata this season after playing backup to Diego Costa last season while Luiz has found playing time hard to come by with the emergence of Andreas Christiansen in Conte’s back three.
At the same time, Conte said that due to the small size of the first team, if someone leaves, he’d need to have a new signing, something that could complicate matters for Luiz and Batshuayi.