Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has refuted the claims coming from Barcelona that a deal for Philippe Coutinho is close to completion.
Pep Segura, ex-Liverpool academy technical manager and current Barcelona general manager, spoke to Catalan television station TV3 this week and stated that the Spanish club were closing in on two deals.
“We are close to Coutinho and Dembele.” he said.
“We are discussing their deals but do not know when it will be done.
“Yes, we expect it.” he finished, when asked if he thought the moves would be completed soon.
But Klopp says that he did not see the interview, has not met Segura before and knows nothing about the claims that Coutinho is closing in on a switch to the Camp Nou.
“I saw the game but I forgot to watch the interviews afterwards.” he said.
“I don’t know why other people are saying what they are saying. I don’t even know them – especially this guy, I’ve never even met him.
“I am not sure I have to answer this only because we have said what we have to say.” he added.
Klopp reinforced the news that Coutinho has a back problem and is not sitting out the opening fixtures of the season because of a refusal to play for the club following his transfer request last week.
“To be honest I have nothing to say about his attitude because since he has had a back problem he has obviously not been in training.” he said.
“I asked the medical department how he is doing and there are no complaints so that is how it is. There is nothing bad to say about this.
“We are all not silly. We know it is a very difficult situation but there is nothing new to say.
“It is not always easy for me to say the 100% truth – even though I don’t like to lie – but it is exactly how I say it because that is how it is in the moment, nothing else.” he finished.
Barcelona have made a third offer to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho.
That’s according to a report by Goal.com, in which it is claimed that the Catalans have upped their previous offer to €130m for the Brazilian international.
The Spanish club have already seen two bids immediately rejected by Liverpool before Coutinho went on to hand in a transfer request last week in order to try and push through a move.
But FSG released a club statement on Friday last week insisting that no offers would be considered for the ex-Inter Milan midfielder as they look to keep him at Anfield for the 2017/18 season.
Barcelona appear to have decided to further test Liverpool’s resolve by pushing their offer over the £100m mark in order to try and secure the transfer of the twenty-five year old.
There is plenty of unrest at the Camp Nou among supporters after they saw their side comprehensively beaten 3-1 on Sunday evening and then 2-0 in the return leg at the Bernabeu by rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish super cup.
Coutinho’s fellow Brazilian Paulinho has been signed already this week, but the La Liga club want to make a statement for the future by signing the Liverpool midfielder.
Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele is also being heavily pursued.
At times last season, Jurgen Klopp had the Kop convinced that Liverpool were realistic and bonafide Premier League title hopefuls, but the challenge to become English champions fell away in the second half of the campaign.
When the Reds had their big-name stars fit and firing, the Merseyside team played an irresistible brand of attacking football unrivalled across England and looked capable of beating anyone.
A number of reasons, including inconsistency, Sadio Mane’s absence to play at the African Cup of Nations and Philippe Coutinho’s injury, played their part in Liverpool not being in the title running come May.
That said, a fourth-placed finish, securing Champions League football in a competitive race at the top of the table, was still deemed as a success in the eyes of the majority of the Reds faithful.
With less than a week until the start of the 2017-18 campaign, expectations have been reassessed and the demands of this historic club have been realigned.
Klopp’s vibrant personality, will to win and attacking football mentality have certainly endeared him to the Liverpool supporters – but the time has come for silverware.
While winning the FA or League Cup in 2017-18 would be more than welcome, the Liverpool fans crave a tilt at becoming English champions once more.
The online bookmakers state that the Reds are fourth or fifth favourites to win the Premier League this season, but this has largely been construed due to the relative spending by the top teams in the division.
Despite Klopp’s men being outspent by all the title challengers except Tottenham Hotspur, there is reason to believe that the business that Liverpool has done will strengthen the team.
Mo Salah’s acquisition looks like a match made in heaven, with the former Chelsea wideman epitomising the high-energy, effective and decisive football that the Liverpool manager demands of his attacking players.
The Egypt international was never given a chance at Stamford Bridge, but has since proven himself beyond doubt as a devastating attacking proponent at both Fiorentina and Roma.
The prospect of having Salah on one wing and Mane on the other will surely strike fear into full-backs across the land and provide Liverpool with one of the most-mobile offensive units in world football.
Andrew Robertson has been added to the Reds ranks for a bargain Â£10 million, with the Scotland international’s capture addressing a much-publicised troublesome position for Klopp.
James Milner played the majority of last season at left-back and despite his application, it is a sensible move to sign a left-footed full-back to specialise in the position.
Robertson excelled in a struggling Hull City side last season and his attacking intent will fit in with Liverpool’s style of play well.
With this first-team duo joined by Dominic Solanke, the Reds have looked to strengthen their squad – but it appears that more signings are needed to help the club compete at the pinnacle of English football.
With Liverpool set to compete in four competitions, including the considerable exertions demanded by the Champions League, strength in depth is an issue that Klopp must address.
It goes without saying that keeping Coutinho at the club amid reported Barcelona interest is a pre-requisite to any successful campaign, while the Reds need some luck with injuries to be in the mix.
However, with Klopp’s expansive football ideologies starting to embed into the Liverpool squad and added menace to an already blistering attacking unit, optimism is high at Anfield ahead of the season opener at Watford.
Liverpool are lining up a move for OGC Nice midfielder Jean Michaël Seri.
That’s according to a report by The Guardian – in which it is claimed that the twenty-five year old is seen as an alternative option to RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita.
But manager Jurgen Klopp would face plenty of competition for the Ivory Coast international if he decides to go ahead and make an offer for Seri.
Premier League rivals Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City are all said to be monitoring his situation and Champions League big guns Paris Saint Germain and Barcelona have also dispatched scouts to watch the midfielder in action.
But Barcelona have added former Spurs midfielder Paulinho to their ranks already this week and it is highly unlikely that they will want to sign another player in that mould.
Klopp has grown frustrated in his attempts to bring Keita to Anfield as Leipzig continue to refuse to do a deal for the Guinea international and he knows time is running out in the transfer window.
The 3-3 draw with Watford on Saturday exposed the limitations in Liverpool’s defence and midfield, which is likely to see Klopp take action by making signings before the end of the month.
Chelsea are set to open the bidding for Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk this week.
That’s according to an article by The Mirror in which it is claimed that manager Antonio Conte will put in a bid worth around £50m for the Holland international.
Conte and Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo are said to be confident that they will land the twenty-six year old before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp remains keen on signing the centre-back, but relations between Anfield and St Mary’s remain frosty with the south coast club refusing to consider offers from the Reds.
Despite that, the German manager is still hopeful that a deal can be done that would see the Dutchman move to Liverpool this month to help shore up the leaky defence.
Manchester City have also asked to be kept in the loop on Van Dijk’s situation as they consider making a move following a decision earlier in the Summer to cool interest after seeing the protracted price rise.
But manager Pep Guardiola remains keen to take the former Celtic man to the Etihad to help his side’s title challenge this season.
Southampton defender Virgil van Djik has broken his silence and released a statement making it clear he is desperate to leave the club having spoken with the powers that be at St. Mary’s about leaving for six months and getting nowhere.
The Dutchman, who has been linked with Liverpool since January, enjoyed the best season of his career last term, despite having his campaign prematurely ended thanks to an injury against Leicester City just after Christmas.
The 26-year-old, however, was at the centre of a tapping up scandal with the Reds being accused of approaching the Saints captain before permission was allowed by his current club, which resulted in the Anfield club officially withdrawing their interest earlier this summer.
With that in mind, Premier League champions Chelsea are now also circling as manager Antonio Conte looks to bolster his squad ahead of a title defence and return the Champions League this season, with his side looking far too thin to improve on their record last term.
Given the breakdown in a relationship between the Saints and the powers that be at Anfield, with the southerners seemingly haven reached their end with the persistent summer visits, a deal with the champions is the preferred options should Van Dijk be sold, despite the club’s persistent stance that he is going nowhere.
Southampton’s displeasure with the Reds stems from the last three or four summers which have seen all of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and most recently Sadio Mane swap the Solent for the Mersey, while losing a host of other top players as a result of bigger clubs turning their heads.
Liverpool remain favourites to land the former Celtic man and betting sites like Bet Way offer odds of 8/15, though given Conte’s desperation to bring in top targets and the situation surrounding the Reds’ statement, it could be tricky to pull something off.
With that in mind, it would be remiss of Jurgen Klopp to not take a look at the other options available to him this summer, and here are three that he could well chase…
Stefan de Vrij
The 25-year-old, a compatriot of Van Dijk, has been linked with Liverpool for some time now and, while his international teammate is probably the more technically advanced would not be far off in terms of defensive ability.
According to Whoscored.com the Lazio man is a proficient stopper of the ball, something the Reds are in desperate need of given their rather leaky showings last term.
Furthermore, with asking prices in the Premier League rocketing this summer, and the Saints’ stance over their captain, De Vrij could come at less than half price.
This could be a tough one. The Bayern Munich man has performed remarkably when given the chance and would be difficult to prize from Carlo Ancelotti this summer.
However, the 22-year-old has put pressure on the German giants ahead of the new season, warning that he is in need of more playing time, something you feel Liverpool would be more than happy to offer to a player who seamlessly made the step up to top level football with the Bundesliga outfit.
With that in mind, Klopp could well swoop in and see if there is the chance of turning the defender’s head with the mention of regular football and the riches of the Premier League, despite the size and stature of his current employers.
A bit of a gamble this one, however, the Englishman – who was handed a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad last season – had a maiden Premier League campaign to remember last term, on a personal level at least.
While Boro’s inability to find the back of the net saw them drop straight back down to the Championship, Gibson’s form at the back was exemplary and earned praise from some of the top managers and pundits.
The 24-year-old looks set to leave the Riverside this summer as mentioned on Talk Sport, with Southampton also mooted as a potential destination, and could be a fantastic addition if given the chance to grow at Anfield this season.
You never know, given a move to St. Mary’s has been mentioned he may well end up a Liverpool player in two seasons anyway, so why not just cut the middle man out.