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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Barcelona reach agreement with Liverpool for Coutinho to head to the Primera Liga

Media outlets in both England and Spain report negotiations completed for Coutinho to make move to join Primera Liga leaders

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho is a long-term target for Barcelona, who, according to a report, are closing in on signing the Brazilian playmaker. Phil Noble / Reuters
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho is a long-term target for Barcelona, who, according to a report, are closing in on signing the Brazilian playmaker. Phil Noble / Reuters

Barcelona and Liverpool have agreed a deal in principle that will see Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho move to the Spanish giants for €160 million (Dh707m).

Media outlets in both England and Spain reported on Saturday night that negotiations had been completed for Coutinho to make the move to join the Primera Liga leaders.

Should a deal be pushed over the line it will end one of the most protracted transfer sagas of recent times.

The Catalans had at least three bids turned down by Liverpool over the summer as they sorted to offset the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record €222m.

But with the winter transfer window open, and with Barcelona reportedly already selling Coutinho merchandise in its club shop, the Catalans finally look to have snared their No 1 target.

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Read more:

Andy Mitten: With or without Coutinho, Barcelona look good to carry on form this weekend

FA Cup predictions: Wins for Man City and Chelsea, banana skins for Stoke, Watford and Swansea

Richard Jolly: If Van Dijk is tasked with being flawless, Liverpool have got the perfect addition

January transfer window: Coutinho, Luiz, Mahrez and Barkley could be high-profile departures

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Coutinho did not feature in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round on Friday owing to a reported thigh injury, and did not travel on Saturday with the squad on their winter warm weather training break in Dubai.

As well as his qualities on the field – Coutinho has been involved in 14 Premier League goals this season (seven goals, seven assists) – the 25-year-old Brazilian is seen by Barca manager Ernesto Valverde as the perfect age as he plans for the future at Camp Nou with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta all in their 30s.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will look to use the funds generated from the sale of Coutinho to bring in more creative reinforcements before the end of the month.

Reports in France over the weekend linked the Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez and the Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar with moves to Anfield.