Transfer twist as Euro giants plot player-plus-cash deal for Liverpool star - report
By Danny Wright
Barcelona are willing to offer Ivan Rakitic to Liverpool in order to grease the wheels for their move for Philippe Coutinho, according to a report.
Spanish news outlet Don Balon reports that Barca are set to use the 82-time Croatian international as a lure to lower the price of the Liverpool attacker.
However, with Luis Enrique quitting the La Liga heavyweights at the end of the season, his replacement will have a big say as to whether he wants to keep hold of Rakitic or continue the chase for Coutinho – and it is reported that not everyone at Barcelona is keen on the deal.
Global star Neymar was recently quoted by the Daily Mail as wanting the 24-year-old to join him at the Catalonian club, who also have ex-Liverpool heroes Luis Suarez and Javier Mascherano among their ranks.
Rakitic is widely regarded as one of Europe’s most exciting playmakers and has 147 appearances for Barcelona, scoring 23 goals and assisting 18.
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He also had brilliant spells at Sevilla and Schalke before his move to the Nou Camp in 2014.
Coutinho has been a central figure in Jurgen Klopp’s revolution at the club.
The ex-Inter Milan ace has had a hand in 70 goals for the Reds in 172 appearances in all competitions with 35 goals and 35 assists.
However the 23-time Brazilian international has struggled to pick up his form since picking up an injury in November that saw him miss a total of nine games.
Football Insider Verdict
If Liverpool were to lose Coutinho then it would be a massive consolation for them to get Rakitic as part of the deal. The cultured midfielder is one of the best in the world and despite being 29-years-of-age he still has some great years ahead of him. Klopp would have seen the Croatian play in his days in the Bundesliga so he’ll have a great idea as to how he plays and whether or not he would want him. Although he doesn’t play in the same position as Coutinho, Rakitic would be a great addition to the Liverpool squad. That doesn’t alter the fact that they’re not going to want to lose Coutinho though, despite his alarming form in the past few months.
In other Liverpool news, Terry McDermott has praised Klopp’s decision on this senior first-team man.