After Phillippe Coutinho handed in a transfer request last summer to try and force through a move to Barcelona, who were desperately tossing money around to try and fill the Neymar-sized hole that had been left in their side, it’s somewhat surprising to see the Brazilian still donning the red shirt of Liverpool.
That, however, could all be set to change. Despite Liverpool’s stern resistance of Barcelona’s advances during the summer, the Spanish club are expected to come back in January with an improved offer.
Coutinho has managed to fill the boots of another who swapped Merseyside for Catalonia, Luis Suarez, at least in the affections of the supporters. He’s undoubtedly Liverpool’s crown jewel and just like his predecessor, he’ll be a tough act to follow.
The reds are sure to demand a huge sum of money, but as their 2014 splurge under Brendan Rodgers, following Suarez’ sale proved, money means very little if it’s spent poorly.
With the lure of Catalonia too much to resist, Liverpool must begin planning for the future.
It would be silly, therefore, for Jurgen Klopp not to have lined up some sort of replacement for his outgoing superstar, and it appears that he’s done just that.
According to reports, Liverpool have made a verbal agreement to sign Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic.
The 23-year-old has struggled for game-time since his move from Inter Milan back in 2015 and has fallen behind fellow countryman Luka Modric as well as Isco, Toni Kroos and Casemiro at the Bernabeu.
Klopp has apparently been a long-term admirer of the Croatian and is looking to bring him in January should they lose Coutinho.
It would certainly go some way in appeasing what is likely to be a very frustrated Liverpool fanbase if they were let their most coveted player go in the middle of the season.
Kovacic only managed 19 La Liga starts last season and has only featured three times for Los Blancos in the league so far in the current campaign.
Given his age and the price Madrid paid for him originally, Kovacic is unlikely to come cheap, but with the funds that are expected to come from the sale of Coutinho, they should have more than enough to tempt Zidane to relinquish someone who is essentially a utility player for him this season.
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