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Five players Barcelona should target instead of Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho

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On Friday afternoon, Liverpool reiterated their stance that Philippe Coutinho will not be sold after they rejected a bid from Barcelona thought to be in the region of £114 million.

The Blaugrana are a wounded animal after losing Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in a £197m deal and to inflict further woe, they were humiliated by their bitter rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, losing 5-1 on aggregate.

They are desperate for fresh blood in the squad and they need to be acquisitions that attract more positive reviews than the purchase of Tottenham flop Paulinho.

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Coutinho now appears to be a no go, so here are five other options Ernesto Valverde should look at instead of the unattainable Brazilian star.

1. THOMAS LEMAR (AS MONACO)

Starting off with a player who looks destined to leave this summer, Lemar is a player with virtually an identical skill set to Coutinho but would likely come at almost half the price.

The French international starred for Monaco as a left winger last season but he is also very capable of operating as a more central force and could perhaps be the man to succeed Andres Iniesta.

A sensational passer of the ball and with a keen eye for goal, it seems ludicrous that a Barca team desperate for fresh quality has not entered the race for the 21-year-old.

2. MARCO ASENSIO (REAL MADRID)

FBL-ESP-SUPERCUP-REALMADRID-BARCELONA

Yes, it would be the most controversial deal of the window and the only reason the talented Spanish midfielder is here is because he shares something in common with Neymar; a very attractive release clause.

At just €80m, chasing Asensio and offering him the prospect of guaranteed first-team football should be something the Barca board attempt.

He can play on the left or centrally and after a dismal week which has seen the fall way behind Los Blancos, snatching their young star would give the club a lot of reprieve.

3. CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN (TOTTENHAM)

Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus - Pre-Season Friendly

It seems amazing that Barca are yet to express an interest in the Danish midfielder, particularly after he performed to a higher standard than Coutinho last season, scoring eight goals and recording 15 assists in the Premier League alone.

The 25-year-old and Spurs would likely be easier in negotiations and again, the former Ajax man is a very versatile entity.

He was born to assist and the prospect of the Dane supplying Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez from either the wing or centrally should be enough to persuade the board to table an offer.

4. MESUT OZIL (ARSENAL)

Arsenal v Leicester City - Premier League

The Gunners man is in the last year of his contract and is regarded as one of the finest creators in world football. So why do Barca not view him as the man to sit atop Iniesta's throne?

The German international would thrive off the likes of Suarez and Messi, while his past ties with Real Madrid would again anger their bitter rivals.

Arsene Wenger may not want to sell, but if a very tempting bid comes in, would he refuse?

5. SAUL NIGUEZ (ATLETICO MADRID)

Spain v Italy: Semi Final - 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship

Now, when the Spaniard signed a new contract at the start of the summer with a €150m release clause, many would have thought the fee was just ridiculously high.

Sadly, Neymar has changed the financial perspective of the game and that price for one of the world's finest talents now looks quit acceptable.

Versatile, skilful and brilliant at notching goals from midfield, Saul should now be an option once again for Barca.

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