An unconfirmed rumour has emerged on Twitter that Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has attempted to 'tap up' Philippe Coutinho for a move to Barcelona.
Football Whispers writer Sam McGuire claimed that the Catalan coach "met Coutinho last week to sell him the dream of becoming a Barca legend".
McGuire also claimed that Barcelona asked Guardiola to speak to the midfielder over a potential move to the Nou Camp.
Barcelona charm offensive in full swing. They sent Pep Guardiola to meet Coutinho last week to sell him the dream of becoming a Barca legend— Sam McGuire (@SamMcGuire90) August 11, 2017
Guardiola has since been accused of allegedly attempting to weaken a rival, while helping the club he played for and coached for two decades.
The story remains unconfirmed, however, and should be treated with scepticism.
Coutinho was reported as handing in a transfer request on Friday, but Liverpool remain adamant that he will not be sold having rejected two bids from Barcelona.
“I have known him for 20 months and that’s the only thing I can say about this [he wouldn’t agitate for a move]," manager Jurgen Klopp said, quoted by The Guardian.
"There is actually nothing else to say about it. The player is not in team training. I don’t go to the medical department every day and ask things like that. It is completely normal. Nobody comes to me every day and says: ‘Oh my God! Phil!’ We speak about the injury. That is all.
“Talking in general, I had to sell a lot of players in my managerial career. Some had clauses, some had no clauses; we had the Lewandowski thing and that was difficult when he went to Bayern on a free transfer. A lot of different things.
“The only thing I can say about this is that in life everything is about timing – whichever club asks early enough. It’s like how we do it. If we ask early enough, we try to do it. If you ask early enough, you can either switch the plan or whatever. But you cannot come up close to the start of the season with things like this.
“The club is bigger than anybody. That is the most important thing. It’s about doing it in the right moment. It’s how we do it when we want to bring players in. It is about timing. That is how I understand. And that is all I have to say. Maybe everybody has a price – in the right moment. In the wrong moment? No price.”