Steven Gerrard casually claimed in his new book that Philippe Coutinho was the Liverpool player most likely to be "tapped up" by La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The comment was meant to be tongue in cheek; a mere reference to Barcelona's shrewd tactics when they successful coaxed Luis Suarez away from Anfield in 2014. But just weeks after the book was published, his claim is coming true.
First, Barcelona superstar Neymar said Coutinho was the one Brazilian he would like to see arrive at the Nou Camp and now Spanish newspaper Sport has claimed Barcelona are on the same page.
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Their transfer embargo is set to be lifted on January 1 and it seems the first order of business for Luis Enrique will be to try and bring in a replacement for Pedro Rodriguez. Coutinho is the perfect man to fill the Spaniard's boots.
With so much uncertainty around the Merseyside club, Coutinho would probably jump at the chance to join his childhood friend, Neymar, in Barcelona. In fact, the same report claims his agent has already sounded out the Catalans to tell them his client is interested.
But Barcelona's interest has not been plucked out of thin air. Sport also claim Liverpool's proposed move for Adama Traore broke down this summer after Barcelona enquired about Coutinho. They wanted first option for the playmaker included in any deal, but Brendan Rodgers flat out refused.
Since then, they have only seen the 23-year-old's reputation grow further; he has been Liverpool's standout player this season and may have kept Rodgers in the job longer than he otherwise would have been.
Unsurprisingly, the price tag is set to be the main issue with Liverpool believed to be demanding €30m to release him. But if Coutinho asks to move, they may have little choice but to accept a smaller fee.
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