Belfast Telegraph

Barcelona to make £100m Coutinho most expensive Premier League export

By Jim Gracey

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho is set to become the Premier League's most expensive export after Barcelona last night bid €100m (£90.2m) for the Anfield playmaker.

The bid was rejected out of hand by Liverpool, leaving the Spanish giants urging Brazilian Coutinho to help force a move away.

Barca's belief is that Liverpool will blink first if the midfielder signals a desire to leave for Spain and they up their bid to £100m.

That would further top the previous record move from the Premiership, when rivals Real Madrid paid £89m to land Gareth Bale from Tottenham.

Barcelona are desperate to sign Coutinho (25) and have been encouraged by his expected absence from Liverpool's opening Premier League fixture at Watford on Saturday, said to be due to a back injury. Liverpool immediately head into a Champions League qualifier against Hoffenheim after Watford and Barcelona do not want him cup tied.

Coutinho (left) is understood to be open to the prospect of moving to the Nou Camp and now Barcelona will look to him to force the issue, with Liverpool insisting he is not for sale at any price.

Barcelona, though, are likely to test that resolve with a £100m offer, which is half the £200m transfer war chest at their disposal from the sale of Countinho's Brazilian countryman Neymar to Paris St Germain.

Belfast Telegraph

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