Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and the powerbrokers at Anfield are monitoring closely the financial position at Barcelona with a view to snaffling the services of former Kop idol Philippe Coutinho.
Spanish giants Barca are embroiled in a wage row with their stars who are said to be recoiling at a request for them to take a big cut to their salaries to help the Nou Camp outfit as they pull in their purse strings amid the coronavirus crisis.
A failure from the Catalan club’s superstars to acquiesce and free up much-needed funding to support other staff could mean a reduced transfer budget for Barca head coach Quique Setién. That in turn could impact who he sells.
Coutinho, who has been on loan at Bayern Munich, is said to be surplus to requirements at Barcelona anyway and in light of a potential cash shortage, the club’s hierarchy would be even more keen to offload him and pick up north of £100million (they forked out a whopping £147million package to sign him in January 2018).
A year ago, Klopp made it clear that it would remain unlikely that the Samba star made a return to Merseyside — yet all that could change. This time 12 months ago the Anfield boss said:
“In general Coutinho helps each team in the world, still — 100 per cent…it’s not about that.
“I like him, I think he’s a super footballer and all that stuff, but it would be a big, big, big-money signing and it’s not our year for that. It’s just not possible. As I say, having him would make each team better — us included — but I really hope that he finds his luck at Barcelona.”
But that luck of which Klopp spoke hasn’t been about in buckets for Coutinho and with the landscape firmly shifting a move back to Liverpool could well be on the cards.
Yet one former Reds ace who believes it wouldn’t necessarily be a good idea to see him return is Emile Heskey. The ex-Anfield hitman has pointed out that the only players who have gone back to the Kop giants who have been a success are strikers Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush.
Heskey, speaking to GentingBet, added:
“No disrespect to Coutinho as he is a fabulous player but where would he fit in the side right now? The team is looking so good at this moment in time that you can’t see him fitting in unless you change the formation. He could then possibly get in the side but Liverpool don’t necessarily need him right now.”
One hurdle to overcome for the Reds if they did like the look of Coutinho is the fact that Bayern Munich have an option to buy Coutinho for £109million. Time will tell.