Philippe Coutinho has issued Liverpool with an official transfer request following the owners’ statement that he is not for sale, according to Sky sources.
Liverpool have denied receiving any such request and on Friday morning, Fenway Sports Group released a statement saying “no offers will be considered” for Barcelona target Coutinho this summer, with Jurgen Klopp backing the owners’ sentiments.
Sky Sports News understands Liverpool have so far rejected two bids from Barcelona for the Brazil international, with the latest offer worth up to £90.4m.
Later on Friday, a close family member of Coutinho’s told Sky Sports News: “Philippe has tried very hard to find an amicable solution to this situation but to no avail.
“He has tremendous love for the club and its fans, but like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have pointed out in the past, Liverpool does not let its players leave on amicable terms.”
It is understood Barcelona are prepared to pay up to £110m for Coutinho, who signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract at Liverpool in January, but FSG’s statement had seemed to clear up his future.
“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,” the FSG statement read, issued prior to Coutinho’s transfer request.
Klopp remained adamant the Liverpool owners’ stance on Coutinho was final when speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday – ahead of the club’s Premier League opener against Watford on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
“When FSG say something like this it is 100 per cent clear,” said Klopp. “You can read it and there is nothing else to say about it.”
Klopp confirmed Coutinho will miss the game against Watford through injury and is doubtful for the Champions League first-leg qualifier against Hoffenheim in midweek.
Barcelona have also seen their £82m-plus-add-ons offer turned down for Dortmund’s Dembele, according to Sky in Germany, and Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Balague believes the Spanish club will have to choose between their two targets.
“Barcelona have been on the back foot a bit, they thought PSG could not buy Neymar,” Balague told Sky Sports News. “Then they thought they could negotiate a price, which meant they could get some players from PSG to Barcelona.
“Then all of a sudden they saw this cheque of 222m euros. So now they’ve been very publicly negotiating for Dembele and Coutinho, I don’t think they can afford both of them.
“In fact, Coutinho was not a transfer target before Neymar because they feel that he is a forward more than a midfielder. With Neymar going, everything has changed.”