Barcelona have no interest in making a move for Philippe Coutinho, despite having a strong admiration for the Brazil star, according to a leading observer of La Liga football.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague reckons Barca coach Luis Enrique would rather spend money on a different area of the squad even though he ‘loves’ the Liverpool hero.
Coutinho has been heavily linked with Barcelona over the past month, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reacting to the rumours on Thursday.
However, Balague reckons the Brazil international would only play second fiddle to the likes of Lionel Messi if he joined Barca.
And the pundit is convinced the Spanish champions aren’t interested anyway, telling Sky Sports: “Barcelona love Coutinho but they have no strategy to sign him at the moment.
“Neymar would like them to sign him and Coutinho himself is interested in the fact that Barcelona have followed him.
“That’s because he’s a forward and he can play where Lionel Messi and Neymar play but they are both there. Coutinho can’t be a substitute of those.
“He’s also going to cost around 70 million euros (£60m) and there is no buyout clause. This would mean a lot of negotiating with Liverpool. I don’t see it happening. Barcelona will spend their money somewhere else.”
Klopp on Coutinho
Klopp was asked for his thoughts on Coutinho’s future at his press conference at Melwood on Thursday and the Reds boss was confident the player would stay at Anfield.
“The club is not a problem, our owners are not a problem,” said the German.
“It is creating the perspective that no-one wants to leave. That is all it is about.
“If there is a club that can pay double what we pay then I will bring the player there because who am I to say ‘No, no no, please don’t think about the family and the kids and the grandkids and their kids but I don’t know a lot of clubs in the world who are able to do this.
“First of all before we talk about money we have to create an atmosphere in and around the club where no-one wants to leave.
“At this moment I am not worried about anything. The players like to be here and it is our job to make sure it stays like this.
“My opinion is that he feels really well here. We all hope and think that his future is here at Liverpool.
“But everyone forgets when you think about Phil is he is still very young. He is 24 so he is still young and has a long way to go and a lot of space for improvement and development.
“He is now at an age where the skills, in a mixture with his experience, gives you more consistency.
“With the team-mates he has around him it is getting better and better.
“I am sure he has only started and that is all good.”
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