Liverpool’s resolve to keep hold of Philippe Coutinho now looks set to lead to another transfer issue for Tottenham Hotspur, as Barcelona have already made initial moves through intermediaries to try and sign Christian Eriksen.
The Catalan club want to this summer buy an attacking midfielder – and eventual successor to Andres Iniesta – as well as a replacement for Neymar, and Coutinho had been a target for the former, only for Liverpool to release a statement on Friday morning that he would not be sold.
The Independent understands that Barcelona had already been preparing for that, and had started the process of trying to prise Eriksen from Spurs.
The feeling among the Camp Nou coaching staff is that the Danish international’s link-up play is very suited to Barcelona.
The irony is that Spurs are likely to be even more difficult to deal with than Liverpool, especially since Eriksen signed a four-year contract extension in September 2016.
While there is a belief that Daniel Levy has a selling price for every player, Barca may have to go beyond £100m, given that Spurs sold Kyle Walker for over £50m.
Earlier on Friday, Liverpool’s owners released a statement insisting that Coutinho will not be sold this summer.
“We wish to offer clarity as regards our position on a possible transfer of Philippe Coutinho,” said a statement from owners Fenway Sports Group on the Merseyside club’s official website
“The club’s definitive stance is that no offers for Philippe will be considered and he will remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer window closes.”