It's looking increasingly likely that the next time we see Philippe Coutinho on a football pitch, he'll be wearing a Barcelona shirt instead of a Liverpool one.
Injury has ruled the Brazilian out of the first two games of the season so far and he won't be ready to return in time for Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Barca have already had two bids for the playmaker rejected, but as it's well known they have at least €222million in the bank, it's expected they will keep increasing their offers until FSG finally cave.
The Blaugrana's general manager Pep Segura, who is under even more pressure to make a marquee signing after the 5-1 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid in the Super Cup, has said deals for both Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele are "close", per the Mirror.
Segura made the remark on TV3, and while it's been widely reported, it seems the context of his comments has not.
Sky Sports' Guillem Balague has now shed light on the situation - and rumours that a deal for Coutinho is just around the corner appear to be false.
"This is exactly what Segura said: 'We are negotiating the details for Coutinho and Dembele," Balague said.
"We are close, that is obvious, but until everything gets fully confirmed, you cannot say anything else.'
No meetings so far
"Reading between the lines, he is trying to say - and I have spoken to all the relevant sources - that Barca want both players and they are in talks with their representatives. Not more than that. Even though if you take a sentence from it out of context it sounds different.
"It means they still need to do deals with the clubs and that will not be easy, in fact, it is far from being a close deal if you analyse the situation right now," Balague added.
"Borussia has said that Barcelona have not got anywhere close to their price tag for Dembele, €150m (£136m), and there is no price for Coutinho. That's where the situation is at the moment."
Jurgen Klopp is even better placed to confirm what is happening regarding the 25-year-old's potential exit and he poured more cold water on Segura's claims at a press conference on Thursday, insisting:
"I don't know why other people are saying what they are saying; I don't even know them – especially this guy, I've never even met him."
Coutinho has handed in a transfer request, which makes it even more difficult for Liverpool to keep him. Yet, as he signed a new deal in January with no release clause, they have every right to hold their ground until Barca make an offer they can't refuse.
Should Liverpool cash in on Coutinho? Have your say in the comments.
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