The winter transfer window hasn’t even opened yet and it looks like Liverpool have already won it with the news that the club have agreed to sign long-term defensive target Virgil van Dijk from Southampton announced yesterday, but the threat of star attacker Philippe Coutinho jumping ship for Barcelona remains a tangible one with the charm offensive from the Catalonian outfit in full swing.
“I advise you to be calm, to leave anxiety aside,” said Barca midfielder Paulinho when asked about his compatriot. “I also went through that moment when I was in China. Keep calm and get it right,” the Brazilian told Spanish media outlet Mundo Deportivo. “You have to think about the decision you are going to make,” added the 29-year old, keen to see Coutinho join him at the Nou Camp. “What I think is that if you have the opportunity to come, you will not regret it.”
Scoring once and pulling the strings for a few more, the Reds attacker put in yet another masterclass performance as Liverpool put five unanswered goals past Swansea City on Boxing Day — the kind of outing that will only reinforce Barcelona’s desire to bring him to Spain.
Top of the table and looking almost certain claim another title, Ernesto Valverde’s side are unbeaten in La Liga this season with a resounding 3-0 win over eternal rivals and Champions League holders Real Madrid only a few days ago showing that they’re the real deal. There were questions about whether or not they’d be able to cope without Neymar after he upped stakes for Paris Saint-Germain this summer, but they’ve responded to their doubters in kind. With that being said, they’re keeping their eyes — and their wallet — open after missing out on Coutinho this summer and are expected to renew their interest come January.
“I think Coutinho’s a great team player with a huge amount of talent,” said Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta when asked by Mundo Deportivo about the Brazilian potentially challenging him for his place in the starting eleven. “He can use both feet, he scores goals, he links play well and gets between the lines in attack,” explained the Barca captain. “He’s a player with qualities like ours and it would be a great signing if it’s finally done,” mused the Spaniard. “I don’t see him as competition for me, but as a step forward for the club.”