Liverpool could sell Coutinho, sign Keita early – Balague

Date published: Wednesday 3rd January 2018 11:38

Liverpool could try and sign Naby Keita in January to help replace Philippe Coutinho.

Liverpool are thought to be toying with the idea of selling Coutinho to Barcelona in January.

Spanish media claim a deal is ‘very, very, very close’ for the Brazilian to leave Anfield, and Coutinho remains keen on the deal.

Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has offered his views, confirming that Liverpool “have softened their stance”.

Balague adds that the Reds could look to fast-track RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita’s agreed summer arrival.

“Things have changed. As you know in the summer Barcelona made three offers for Coutinho, and they are preparing another bigger one, 110m euros plus 40m euros add-on fees,” Balague told Sky Sports.

“They are preparing it, they haven’t sent it yet to Liverpool. But I think everybody is under the impression that Liverpool have softened their stance, and are willing to listen.

“They haven’t necessarily put a price on Coutinho, but they are thinking: ‘How about if we sold him now?’ Or, ‘how about agreeing a departure in the summer’.

“All of the possibilities are on the table, but perhaps the most unlikely one is Coutinho renewing his Liverpool contract.

“That is different from Liverpool’s stance in the summer. Liverpool cannot say anything yet because a new offer has not arrived, it is being prepared. It will arrive.

“Something that is not new is that Coutinho would like to leave now.

“Even after splashing out £75m on Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool aren’t desperate for the money.

“After taking a firm stance on any Coutinho bids last summer, perhaps there is an acceptance within the boardroom that there is little to be gained by keeping him against his will, hence adopting a less belligerent stance.

“But before they let him go they need the right fee for him and they will try to bring a replacement. Maybe [Naby] Keita arriving early? In any case, all the possibilities are being considered.”


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