Van Dijk to force move while Barcelona bid rejected

Afternoon Bulletin

Southampton’s Van Dijk ready to force £60m Liverpool move

According to Liverpool Echo, Virgil van Dijk will have crunch talks with Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino as he tries to push through a transfer to Liverpool.

Van Dijk has already made it clear to Pellegrino that he wants to join Liverpool thus he was told to train on his own until he accepts that he is not for sale. It is believed that the Dutchman will have now had time to accept he is not leaving St Mary’s and will be reintegrated back into the first team squad.

Liverpool are prepared to sanction a club record £60m offer for the centre-back but would not make an approach for Van Dijk until given the green light by Southampton after having to make a public apology in June for alleged tapping up. It is now up to the player himself to force a move.

No Coutinho exchange with Barcelona and latest £89m bid rejected

Midfield pair Andre Gomes and Rafinha have been touted in Spain as potential makeweights in a switch for Philippe Coutinho. Barcelona saw their initial bid worth £72million rejected as they continue to pursue a move for the Reds’ playmaker.

The possibility of an exchange deal has also been suggested, with Gomes and Rafinha among those linked to Liverpool. However, according to the Liverpool Echo, both players are deemed insufficient in quality to enhance Jurgen Klopp’s side.

The Reds have no interest in either midfielder, with £36m-rated Rafinha having suffered injury problems. Meanwhile, Gomes has struggled for form since joining Barcelona last summer. Senior Liverpool officials are also adamant there will be no deal done for the Brazil international this summer.

Catalan giants have rumoured to have offer a second and improved offer amounting to £89m which was rejected by the Reds. Reports coming out of Spain over the last few days claim Coutinho has already signed personal terms with the La Liga giants.

RMC Sport’s Mohamed Bouhafsi tweeted: “After the 1st offer of €80m (£72m) #Liverpool [in] these last hours [have] refused a second offer of €100m (£89m) from FC Barcelona for #Coutinho.”

Jurgen Klopp has previously gone on record to categorically rule out Coutinho’s departure from the club this summer but that hasn’t stopped Barcelona from increasing their original €80m (£71.5m) bid.

Despite having a second bid turned down, Barcelona are still confident they will be able to prize the Brazilian away from Anfield, although have earmarked Borussia Dortmund whizz Ousmane Dembele as an alternative.