Philippe Coutinho is now 10/11 to join Barcelona after the Liverpool player reportedly handed in a transfer request. Rumours of Coutinho's request emerged moments after the club's American owners tried to put off Barcelona, who yesterday bid £90m for the Brazilian, by issuing a statement saying they would not sell him in the current transfer window.
Coutinho made the transfer request via email around 1pm today. #LFC adamant that it changes nothing and he won't be sold.— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) August 11, 2017
The news is a blow to Jurgen Klopp's plans as he tries to prepare his side for their Premier League opener against Watford on Saturday and Tuesday's Champions League play-off against Hoffenheim. Coutinho, who's recovering from a back injury, is not expected to feature in either game.
Klopp said at his press conference ahead of Liverpool's Premier League opener that he was 100% certain Coutinho would not be sold. However, a transfer request from the playmaker, who was Liverpool's top scorer last season, could be a game-changer. It could also mean that Barca, rich from the proceeds of Neymar's £198m transfer to Paris Saint German, will return with an improved offer.
The Neymar transfer appears to have set off a chain reaction involving some of Europe's biggest clubs. As well as Coutinho, Barcelona also want the French forward Ousmane Dembele. Borussia Dortmund turned down an offer of £100m from the Catalan giants this week but the player is believed to have skipped training without permission. He has now been suspended, although the German club still claim they won't sell unless Barca increase their offer. Dembele is 1/10 to join the Spanish team this summer and out to 3/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook to stay with Dortmund.
Having seen Real Madrid win consecutive Champions League titles, Barcelona are determined to land two players who they believe can replace Neymar and return the club to the pinnacle of European football. They don't care which clubs suffer in the process, as Klopp and Dortmund boss Peter Bosz are learning.