Five players Liverpool could sign to replace Philippe Coutinho if he leaves for Barcelona
It's one of the summer's long-running transfer sags. Will Philippe Coutinho get his wish for a move to Barcelona or will Liverpool hold him at Anfield?
He's got a five-year contract at his current club so they are under no obligation to sell, but with rumours that Barcelona are set to come in with a third bid and Coutinho sitting out of Liverpool's opening games of the campaign, he could still be off. Let's face it, Barcelona usually get their man.
So if he does leave, who could Liverpool turn to? How do you replace someone like Coutinho?
1. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)
The 26 year-old is one of Europe's hottest prospects this summer and has even been the subject of a reported £54 million bid from Barcelona. He netted 18 Serie A goals last season for the club he has played for since coming through their Youth Academy. He was once called the 'Italian Messi' by former Napoli team-mate Goran Pandev and can be utilised anywhere across the front line. He can also hit a free-kick although after Tuesday evening's strike, he would have to battle Trent Alexander-Arnold for that privilege at Anfield. Serie A expert Paolo Baldini does expect the Italian club to hold on to their star man but he is said to be Jurgen Klopp's top target, should Coutinho leave.
2. Max Meyer (Schalke)
The 21 year-old German international has been a reported target for both Tottenham and Arsenal so far this summer. He has just one year remaining on his Schalke contract and has rejected a new deal, confirming he is open to considering other options. Klopp has apparently been a long-time admirer of his compatriot and some say he even tried to sign the attacking midfielder for Borussia Dortmund. Meyer scored just one Bundesliga goal in 18 starts last season.
3. Jean Michael Seri (Nice)
The midfielder has a reported £36.4m release clause in his contract so could prove a cheaper signing for the Anfield club. Reports by TransferMarketWeb suggest he could be moving to Liverpool regardless of Coutinho's future. Seri is an Ivory Coast international who is also reportedly interesting Arsenal, Barcelona and PSG. The 26 year-old midfielder netted seven Ligue 1 goals last season. Stamina and a good passing ability mean he is the man who makes Nice tick in the middle of the park and therefore could also be seen as an alternative signing to Naby Keita for the Reds.
4. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)
Another player with just a year to run on his current deal, the Ox could be on his way out of the Emirates. Reports in the Express claim both Liverpool and Manchester United have enquired about his availability with Chelsea also interested. The winger can also play centrally and that versatility would certainly appeal to Jurgen Klopp and his fluid formation. The England international netted just two Premier League goals last season.
5. Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)
Perhaps less likely to move to Liverpool, the Real Madrid star has nonetheless been linked with a move to Anfield this summer. Asensio scored during the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona but is reportedly attracting interest from Arsenal, Manchester City, Juventus and Bayern Munich. The Sun say that Asensio is determined to stay at his current club and will use the interest as leverage over a new contract as he seeks confirmation on his place in Zinedine Zidane's plans.
So there are a few options for the Reds. No doubt any Liverpool fan would still rather keep hold of their Brazilian playmaker. Time will tell.
Belfast Telegraph Digital