Barcelona Look to Sabotage Liverpool's Move for Lemar as Reds Prove Too Stubborn on Coutinho
Barcelona have accelerated attempts to sign Liverpool target Thomas Lemar with the aim of blocking the Reds' move for the winger as the prospects of Coutinho's move to Nou Camp remain slim, according to Spanish news outlet Sport.
The Catalan side have been tracking the Liverpool playmaker for some time now and their interest was intensified following the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.
However, as the Merseyside club continue to block any attempts to prise Coutinho away from Anfield, Barça have stepped up their chase of Monaco winger Lemar with Sport claiming that the La Liga giants have started negotiations with the Frenchman.
There had been reports in the British media that Liverpool had told Coutinho he would be free to leave once a replacement had been found, in this case Thomas Lemar, but with Barcelona seemingly intent on capturing the former Caen player the Brazilian's future remains unclear.
Barcelona have returned for Thomas Lemar, according to Catalan paper SPORT.— Get French Football (@GFFN) August 30, 2017
The Spanish side see Lemar as a cheaper and easier alternative to Coutinho, with an €80m price tag also putting the winger top of the shortlist ahead of another potential target in Juventus' Paulo Dybala.
Although Liverpool had approached Monaco with the aim of sealing a move for Lemar, it has recently become clear that a move for the 21-year-old is not a priority.
It has been reported that Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has rejected a contract offer from Chelsea as he feels that he would feature more as a right-wing back at the London club rather than a preferred role in midfield.
With Liverpool now the favourites to sign the Southampton youth product, it is believed that the club are ready to cool their interest in Lemar, especially if Barcelona do not return with another bid for Coutinho.