Liverpool showed in their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday that they miss Philippe Coutinho.
The club said Coutinho’s absence was due to a back problem but it’s likely Barcelona’s interest in the Brazilian has played a part in his non-appearance in Liverpool’s first two matches of the new season.
Liverpool rejected a bid that totalled £118 million from Barca on Friday, the third bid that Spanish giants have made since July.
The Times reported that the 25-year-old reacted to Liverpool blocking his move to Barcelona by informing Jurgen Klopp that he doesn’t want to play for the Reds again, but he may have little choice but to.
That’s because Barcelona have given up their chase for Coutinho, according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.
That news will come as a welcome relief to Liverpool supporters who were wondering if their club would eventually crack.
Liverpool released a statement earlier in the month confirming Coutinho wouldn’t be sold this summer but similar comments were made months before they sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona in 2014.
And with the transfer kitty boosted following Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain, the Blaugrana wouldn’t have had a problem overspending on Coutinho.
The three players Barcelona are now targeting
But Balague claims Barcelona have given up on the playmaker and instead turned their attentions to three different players.
They are Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund and PSG’s Angel di Maria.
Seri, 26, is close to completing a £36m move to the Camp Nou and Barca have held a long-term interest in Dembele, who has been suspended by Dortmund following his desire to leave the club.
Di Maria’s name is an interesting one, though. If Barcelona’s interest in the former Real Madrid winger is genuine, they could find it easier to convince PSG to sell than Dortmund.
Neymar’s arrival at the Parc des Princes, combined with Julian Draxler’s presence, could see the Argentinian made available if Barcelona come up with a suitable offer.
Barca need to act fast
But the Catalan outfit must act quickly. The transfer window shuts next week and the 5-1 dismantling at the hands of Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup suggests Ernesto Valverde’s side might struggle to keep up with Los Blancos this season.
Will Barcelona make any more signings before the transfer window shuts? Let us know in the comments section below!
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