Liverpool and Barcelona fans were sent into meltdown on Saturday night as Nike’s official website appeared to leak a Philippe Coutinho-Barcelona deal. Philippe Coutinho, 25, was heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp all summer, but Liverpool rejected a number of offers from the Catalan giants ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
Barca remains adamant about signing the Brazilian superstar and it appears Ernesto Valverde has got his man. An advert by Nike for Barca’s latest strip read: ‘Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. ‘Get your 2017/18 FC Barcelona kit with the Magician’s name on it. Act fast—free personalization only available until 6 January.’
Nike later deleted the page and it remains to be seen whether it was a blunder or online hacking. Coutinho has been at the centre of a drawn-out transfer saga as Barca try to lure the Brazil international away from Anfield. Barca reportedly had a £115 million offer for Coutinho turned down by Liverpool in August but the La Liga leaders are believed to be readying another bid in January.
A deal worth £125m is reportedly in the works, with Liverpool more open to selling Coutinho at the turn of the year than they were in the summer. Coutinho – who handed in a transfer request – played 89 minutes in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
Coutinho has scored seven Premier League goals this season while claiming six assists. Barcelona is currently on the top of LaLiga table, leading second-placed Atletico Madrid by nine points and bitter rivals Real Madrid, who lie fourth, by 14. Liverpool, meanwhile, is fourth in the Premier League, 17 points behind leaders Manchester City but four ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham, who have a game in hand.
The transfer window is set to open again on Monday when Virgil van Dijk will complete his £75m move to Liverpool from Southampton. Judging by Nike’s website, Liverpool are involved in another high-profile transfer with Coutinho leaving for Spain. Coutinho shirts are still available on Liverpool’s official store so he’s still an Anfield player. Spanish newspaper Sport claim a meeting is being set up on January 3 by Barcelona to discuss a transfer