Spanish La Liga

Philippe Coutinho? I prefer my players, says Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde

Liverpool forward is reportedly on Spanish club’s radar with US$180 million move touted for January transfer window after failed summer pursuit

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 January, 2018, 1:58pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 January, 2018, 1:58pm

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has shrugged off speculation over an imminent swoop for Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho by insisting: “I prefer the players I currently have in the team”.

Brazilian international forward Coutinho has been linked with a 150 million (US$180 million) switch to the Spanish giants in the current transfer window just as he was when the English side thwarted a series of approaches from Barca last summer.

“I have nothing to say on the subject of Coutinho, he isn’t one of our players,” said Valverde.

“He is at another team and we respect the fact that he is at another team. He is a great player and we don’t know what is going to happen in the future.

“However, I much prefer the players that I currently have in my team and they are the ones who concern me.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has also refused to get caught up in the feverish speculation over the 25-year-old’s immediate future.

Rumours of a move to the Camp Nou were fuelled by pictures – subsequently removed – of a Barcelona shirt with Coutinho’s name appearing on the website of Nike, the Catalan club’s kit manufacturer, over the weekend.

“I heard about it. Somebody told me and I thought ‘wow’. But I couldn’t be less interested in anything in the world,” Klopp said.