According to reports, Barcelona are keen on signing Philippe Coutinho this summer and are prepared to offer Ivan Rakitic as makeweight.

Although Coutinho recently signed a new contract with Liverpool, Barcelona are reportedly ready to offer cash plus Ivan Rakitic for Philippe Coutinho.

This interesting bit of news comes from Spanish publication Don Balo, via the Mirror.

Coutinho’s contract doesn’t include a buyout clause which means that it will be a little bit harder for Barcelona to negotiate a fee with Liverpool, even if Rakitic is included as part of the deal.

I am certainly intrigued about the possibility of having Rakitic arrive at Liverpool. Although, I would much prefer not having to part with Coutinho in order to make that happen.

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Losing Coutinho this summer or next could be detrimental to the project that Jürgen Klopp is working on at Liverpool. The Brazilian midfielder is massively influential in everything he does at the club and if he were to move to Barcelona, Liverpool would need to replace him.

 

And, unlike with when Luis Suarez left the club, a capable replacement needs to be identified as we can’t have a player of Mario Balotelli’s quality coming to the club and hope to replicate the attacking impetus that has been on show at Anfield under Klopp’s management.

With that in mind, I’d like to segway into reports that Liverpool could sign James Rodriguez could join the club this summer if the Reds are successful in their quest for Champions League qualification.

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The Colombian midfielder is a world class attacking talent and may well serve as a suitable replacement for Coutinho, despite not being a like-for-like swap. If Liverpool finish in the top four, according to the Mirror, a source close to Zinedine Zidane said that Rodriguez is growing tired of not being a permanent fixture in the starting lineup.

Signing Rodriguez would require a switch in formation for the Anfield outfit as he is far less effective out wide. He operates best just behind a sole striker where he is given a licence to attack with very little defensive responsibilities.

In all honesty, I can’t see Klopp spending £65 million, the rumoured price tag, on a player like Rodriguez given that he lacks versatility in comparison to his ideal forwards. Players like Mané and Firmino can operate in a centre attacking midfield role, on the wing or up front with relative ease.

Right now, I don’t think it’s worth fussing about Coutinho’s replacement with two months of the season left to play. He might stay yet…

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