FC Barcelona is reportedly ready to make Liverpool FC an offer for Philippe Coutinho.
The bid arrives just two days after the Premier League side slapped a price tag of £160 million on the midfielder’s head.
Barcelona made three unsuccessful bids for Coutinho last summer but is emboldened by Liverpool’s apparent willingness to do business in the January transfer window.
La Liga giant Barça will open mid-season negotiations at £140 million, according to The Guardian. If the deal goes through, it would make Coutinho the second most expensive footballer of all time, second only to Neymar who was bought by Paris Saint-Germain for €220 million ($265 million or £200 million) last year.
Though it is £20 million shy of what Liverpool hopes to make on the sale, it would represent the largest fee Barcelona has ever paid for a footballer and the largest fee Liverpool has ever received.
Barcelona’s record arrival is currently the £95 million it paid for Ousmane Dembele in 2017.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp refuses to comment at length about discussions between the two clubs.
“There is no moment in January when I will talk about this, that’s how it is,” Klopp said this week. “If anything happens to any player, Phil or whoever, and if something happens, we can talk about it but not before.”
However, Spanish media is optimistic a deal will be struck. Sports newspaper MARCA says: “Barcelona is quietly optimistic over signing Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window. The best scenario being a deal being completed in the next week.”