Barcelona finally completed the signing of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool for £142 million after pursuing the Brazilian playmaker all summer. However, according to Mundo Deportivo, Real Madrid made a late bid of £177 million for the former Liverpool No 10. Fortunately for Barcelona fans, Coutinho had his heart set on a move to the Camp Nou and even reportedly shelled out £11.5 million of his own money to force the move.
According to The Telegraph, Coutinho's sale has significantly increased Liverpool's revenue and the Merseysiders are looking to spend some of it to get summer signing Naby Keita in January itself. The Guinean midfielder was signed by Liverpool for £51 million from RB Leipzig in the summer and was sent back to the Bundesliga club on a season-long loan. Liverpool are now eager for the midfielder to join the club in January. However, if Keita joins, he would not be able to play in the Champions League for Jurgen Klopp this season having already featured in the competition with Leipzig. Moreover, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain settling in at his new club and Adam Lallana back from injury, Klopp has options in the midfield.
The Mirror reports that Klopp has urged the Liverpool hierarchy to sign Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City to replace Coutinho. The Foxes boss Claude Puel had said last week that his Algerian winger was happy at the King Power and he had no intention of selling the player.
Following Coutinho's footsteps in leaving Anfield is Emre Can who is closing in on a move to Serie A champions Juventus. Football Italia reports that the German international, who will be out of contract in the summer, is close to agreeing on a pre-contract deal with the Turin giants with Liverpool resigned to losing their player for free.
Arsene Wenger is willing to let Alexis Sanchez be reunited with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City only if he manages to sign Mahrez. The Mirror reports that Wenger will sanction Sanchez's move to City for £25 million but only if he's able to sign Mahrez as his replacement. Incidentally, Sanchez had almost joined City on the last day of the summer transfer window after Arsenal had in principle, accepted a bid of £60 million for the Chilean only for Arsenal to reject it after running out of time to sign Thomas Lemar for £92 million.
If Sanchez indeed makes his way to the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola will hold off a move for Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez until the summer. With UEFA rules stating that a club can only add one Europa League player in their Champions League squad in January transfer window, Guardiola will prioritise signing Sanchez over Martinez, who will cost City £28.5 million. However, The Sun reports that Guardiola has targeted Leicester's Harry Maguire and is willing to shell out £50 million for the centre back. Maguire, who made his England's debut in October, joined Leicester from Hull City for £17 million.
And finally, Mauricio Pellegrino has confirmed his interest in bringing back Theo Walcott to Southampton, 11 years after he left for Arsenal. Walcott is reportedly eyeing a move away from the Emirates after falling down the pecking order and book a place in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the 2018 World Cup.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Jan 08, 2018 15:57:25 IST