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Is Coutinho the key to Neymar’s future at Barcelona?

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Questions surround Barca’s pursuit of the Liverpool ace

Liverpool FC v Leicester City FC: Premier League Asia Trophy Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Talk of a Barcelona move for Philippe Coutinho is nothing new, but the speculation has noticeably returned with a vengeance in the last few days.

And it’s moving at quite a pace too, first up we had rumors of Barca officials heading to London for talks, and by the evening Catalan reports had even claimed personal terms had been agreed.

This is all despite the fact that Liverpool have repeatedly insisted that Coutinho simply is not for sale, and with speculation claiming he would cost Barca at least €100m.

But there are questions surrounding Barcelona’s pursuit of Coutinho: is it all to keep Neymar happy? Will he be a replacement for Neymar? Can Barcelona even afford Coutinho?

Many have speculated that Barca have returned to Coutinho simply because they have realised that luring Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain may prove mission impossible.

However, there’s also a strong suspicion that Barca’s sudden new interest is more likely linked to the battle to keep hold of Neymar.

Many outlets have been speculating why, apart from the huge deal on offer, Neymar might be tempted to head to PSG, and the presence of close friend Dani Alves and fellow compatriots Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Lucas Moura has been cited as a key factor.

Brazil v Argentina - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

What we do know for sure now, thanks to Gerard Pique’s press conference last night, is that Neymar really is contemplating a move to the French capital, and his future at Camp Nou is very much in the balance.

Is that why then, talk of a move for Coutinho is suddenly front and centre? Are Barca trying to buy Neymar a friend to keep him happy? Will he stay if the Liverpool man does arrive?

The other questions of course is, can Barcelona sign Coutinho? Let’s not forget he only signed a new deal back in January and, unlike Neymar, he has no release clause.