As the Philippe Coutinho saga hurtles towards its inevitable conclusion, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has had his say on the matter.
The Liverpool playmaker, denied his dream move to Camp Nou in the summer, has refused to give up hope of moving to Barca in this transfer window, and is reportedly more determined than ever to make the deal happen.
While speculation continues to swirl around this transfer story, Barca boss Valverde was asked about his apparently impending arrival ahead of his side’s Copa del Rey clash with Celta Vigo on Thursday night.
Valverde, however, was understandably vague in the matter, referring only to how good a player Coutinho is and adopting “que sera, sera” approach:
#FCB | ?️”¿Coutinho? Es un jugador de otro equipo. Buen jugador, desde luego… pero no sabemos qué pasará en el futuro. Lo que viene, si es que viene, ya vendrá” https://t.co/dlo2Nb0dbk pic.twitter.com/clG8Q3mlgB
— Diario SPORT (@sport) January 3, 2018
(Translation: “I do not have anything to say, he’s not a player of ours, he’s in another club, I do not say anything about him out of respect. Good player, of course… but do not know what will happen in the future. What comes, if it is coming, it will already come”)
The latest reports from Spain suggest that Barcelona themselves are growing increasingly confident of eroding Liverpool’s resolve and sealing a club-record deal to take the 25-year-old to La Liga in this transfer window, while his camp apparently share the belief that he has played his last game in a Liverpool shirt.
The line coming from England, meanwhile, is that Liverpool are keeping their cards close to their chest until an official offer comes in. £133m is seemingly the magic number that will get the Reds to the negotiating table, and even then it will take some convincing on Coutinho and Barcelona’s part to let him depart in the middle of a Premier League top-four push and Champions League campaign, and before a replacement has been signed.
Indeed, according to the Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe, one man and one man only will decide if Coutinho is allowed to depart this month:
One thing worth making absolutely clear. IF Coutinho goes in January, it is Klopp’s decision. https://t.co/7WF2DDCoj9
— Chris Bascombe (@_ChrisBascombe) January 3, 2018