Football

Philippe Coutinho.

Barcelona draw up four-man shortlist of Philippe Coutinho alternatives

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Barcelona had every reason to fear for their chances of competing on all fronts after losing Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

The Brazilian’s world-record move to the French capital may have added £200 million to the Nou Camp bank account, but his departure had the potential to leave an irreplaceable void on the pitch.

Having lost one of their key men ten days out from the opening weekend of La Liga, Barca were understandably considering emergency action in the transfer market.

The Catalan giants made several attempts to lure Philippe Coutinho away from Liverpool only for their series of increasingly large offers to end in failure.

Widely expected to refocus their attention on another world-class target, Barcelona elected to make do with what they have at least until January.

The Blaugrana did welcome roughly £175 million worth of signings including a £94 million forward in Ousmane Dembele, but their relatively quiet transfer activity has proven to be a wise decision.

Ernesto Valverde has guided his new side to a four-point lead at the top of La Liga while failing to win only once in a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Barca will also secure their place in the Champions League knockout phase barring defeat in both their remaining fixtures against Juventus and Sporting Lisbon.

Best of all, their sworn enemies Real Madrid are already eight points off the pace despite not yet meeting in the Spanish top-flight this term.

However, that’s not to say Barcelona are completely free of concerns.

FBL-EUR-C1-OLYMPIAKOS-BARCELONA

Lionel Messi is under unprecedented pressure to perform with Dembele carrying a long-term injury and Luis Suarez scoring just three goals in 11 outings.

On top of that, the club hierarchy are still reeling from the loss of Neymar and seemingly hell-bent on acquiring a household name in his place.

Coutinho is still very much at the top of their shortlist, though they’re now prepared to consider alternative options following their grinding summer negotiations with Liverpool.

BARCELONA EYE COUTINHO ALTERNATIVES

Spanish newspaper Sport claims Barca will turn to one of four new targets should the Reds continue playing hardball over the €150 million-rated playmaker.

Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Max Meyer (Schalke), Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen) or Thomas Lemar (Monaco) are thought to be on their radar, all of whom would be significantly less expensive than Coutinho.

Each of the aforementioned quarter could represent far better value for money in comparison to the Liverpool man, but his established profile must also be factored into the equation.

Some believed last summer may be the one chance for the Merseyside club to cash in on Coutinho, and their prediction could hold true with so many other worthy back-ups up for consideration.

Who do Barcelona need to sign in January? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Topics:
Barcelona
Liverpool
La Liga
Premier League
Football
Philippe Coutinho

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