By 90Min
January 05, 2018

Barcelona chiefs are said to be more confident than ever in landing priority target Philippe Coutinho in January, in a deal that would be the third largest in history.

Spanish news outlet Don Balon have claimed that Liverpool have demanded the Catalonians match or better the £135m fee they agreed to part with to secure Ousmane Dembele over the summer in order to begin discussions with the Brazilian, with several sources in England insisting that will indeed be the case. 

Despite the Reds' last ditch attempts to retain the 25-year-old, which included an improvement to his current £150k-per-week deal at Anfield, it seems it is simply a matter of time before the attacker makes the switch to La Liga, with the Independent claiming a deal could be struck as early as next week. 

The report states that this rather sudden and shortened time frame is due to the Merseysiders retracting their 'not for sale at any price' stance somewhat in recent times, opening the door for the Barca swoop. 

Both the Times and the Liverpool Echo claim that the fee will adhere to Liverpool's reported demands, with the initial transfer figure of around £105m to change hands immediately and an additional £35m to potentially follow, depending on performance. 

However, unlike over the summer where the Catalonians included a Ballon d'Or award in their original Coutinho deal stipulations, it is thought that the extra cash is now simply linked to appearances and trophy success. 

If the deal was to be agreed the move would make the Brazilian the third most expensive player in history, behind Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. 

But ahead of his side's FA Cup derby with Everton on Friday evening, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp refused to comment on the current speculation. 

"There is nothing to say until there is something to say," the German told his pre-match press conference, as quoted by the Independent. 

"They are professional football players. Sometimes they are in the middle of the story and sometimes they are sat next to the guy in the dressing room who is in the middle of the story." 

"These young boys are used to this from a really early age and are used to ignoring things around them. If they are smart enough they ignore most of it."

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