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Barcelona open Coutinho talks but are told he will cost €100m - report

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The Reds will sell, but only at a huge price

Liverpool FC v Leicester City FC: Premier League Asia Trophy Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images

Barcelona’s pursuit of Philippe Coutinho looks to have been reignited with reports in Spain claiming club officials have travelled to the UK for talks over a possible move.

According to Sport, the Reds are well aware of Barcelona’s interest and although they insist he is not for sale, they will reportedly let him go for €100m.

Apparently Barca now see Coutinho as a more realistic transfer target than Marco Verratti, and have begun formal negotiations with talk of an initial €75m offer.

Barca are prepared to go up to €80m for Coutinho, but appear unlikely to go as far as Liverpool’s asking price, all of which suggests another tedious, and long-drawn out transfer saga - particularly as Jurgen Klopp has continually insisted he will stay at Anfield.

There’s also the small matter of Neymar, particularly as so much talk of his proposed move to Paris Saint-Germain has centred around him playing with Dani Alves and linking up with fellow Brazilians Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Lucas Moura.

The arrival of Coutinho, a good friend of Neymar, would certainly help keep him happy (if he remains at Camp Nou) and the report acknowleges it is a “strategic signing” - not only would it keep Neymar sweet, but Coutinho could even take his place should he leave.