Barcelona Reportedly Tell Philippe Coutinho Reps His Transfer Is 'Top Priority'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2017

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Middlesbrough at Anfield on May 21, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Barcelona have reportedly made it clear to Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho and his representatives his transfer remains a "top priority."

Per Phil McNulty of BBC Sport, the Reds rejected a third offer for the Brazilian on Friday, worth a potential £114 million, with the Premier League side adamant their star man is not for sale. According to Joaquim Piera of Sport, though, there is still hope in Catalonia a deal can be done.

"Barca have reiterated to the player's representatives that the transfer is still their top priority," Piera noted. "Liverpool are also playing the situation and hoping to up to the tension for Barca to get as high a fee as possible for the player."

It's also reported both Barca and Coutinho remain "fully confident" the move will go ahead.

Coutinho has been the subject of intense speculation.
Coutinho has been the subject of intense speculation.Boris Streubel/Getty Images

There have been hints in Catalonia throughout the transfer window that a deal was set to go ahead. Indeed, Barcelona's general manager, Josep Segura, recently told TV3 the club was "close" to landing Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele (h/t Rory O'Callaghan of Sky Sports).

While Coutinho handed in a transfer request to the Reds in an attempt to get his move, it appears Liverpool are ready to resist any offers that come their way for their No. 10.

Football writer Michael Cox isn't convinced the Premier League outfit should be quite so stubborn, though:

Coutinho has been a key man since arriving at Anfield in 2013. The midfielder has developed into a huge threat in the final third during his time with Liverpool, able to dribble past opponents, thread passes into space and score goals from distance.

Not having a player like him, who can swing a match in an instant, would be a blow to any side. Yet with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all available to call upon, it's not as if Jurgen Klopp's side is short of quality attackers.

Liverpool have plenty of attacking talent at their disposal.
Liverpool have plenty of attacking talent at their disposal.OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Coutinho does give the Reds something a little different, though. And as noted by Sky Sports' Guillem Balague, the Catalans' approach to securing the player has been interesting:

Barcelona may want Coutinho, and Coutinho may want Barcelona, but Liverpool's stance that their man will not be going anywhere appears unshakeable. 

If they were to sell now, it would be a big surprise. Not only did they issue a statement earlier in August suggesting the Brazilian would be staying at the club, but Coutinho made the decision to sign a new long-term contract on Merseyside earlier this year. It's why the Reds can afford to reject nine-figure bids.

Barcelona have yet to reinvest any of the £200 million received for Neymar in forward players, and they look short of depth and quality in this area of the pitch. It's likely they will move for Coutinho again before the transfer window shuts, though it's tough to envisage a different response from Liverpool.