By Matt Farr
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has joked attacking sensation Philippe Coutinho has a £400million release clause in his current contract.
The 24-year-old attacking-midfielder is one of the club’s most prized assets, but the club may have a tough battle on their hands this summer to retain his services.
Catalan based newspaper Sport claimed on Tuesday that Barcelona were keen on bringing Coutinho to the Nou Camp, and revealed Liverpool were looking for a fee in the region of £75million.
However, Klopp has responded to the reported interest from Spain in emphatic fashion, joking that Barcelona will need to meet a staggering release clause worth £400million.
The Brazilian international committed his long-term future to the club during the January transfer window, putting pen-to-paper on a new deal worth £200,000-per-week, making him the highest-paid player in the their history.
But Klopp reiterated he has no plans to sell Coutinho this summer, revealing to the The Sun “When did he sign his new contract?
“With a £400million clause!” he added, after being reminded he had signed a deal in January.
“There are absolutely no plans [to sell him]. What our owners say is there is the absolute opportunity not to sell anybody if we do not want to.”
Coutinho has been in fine form yet again for Liverpool this season, contributing 11 goals and eight assists from 34 appearances in all competitions.
He has four goals from his last seven Premier League matches, and will be determined to provide the goods in the final third to help ensure Liverpool can book their place in the Champions League for next season.
Overall, he has scored 39 goals and supplied 36 assists since arriving at Liverpool from Inter Milan in January 2013.
Football Insider verdict
Klopp has once again made it very clear that the club has no plans to sell Coutinho this summer, although this time he has taken a more humorous approach. An exit from Anfield for the Brazilian has long been reported in the media, and it has come to the point where Klopp is simply shrugging off interest with little need for thought. And rightly so. Coutinho has been a formidable asset to the club over the years, and although he endured a concerning blip in form following his return from an injury in the new year, he is starting to rediscover his best form. Liverpool would be daft to book their place in the Champions League next season, only to then part ways with a player of his quality – even if they can generate £75million-plus for his signature.
In other Liverpool transfer news, Steve Nicol has warned a Liverpool mainstay that this reported target will replace him in the team.