The Catalan giants have identified the 24-year-old as the perfect candidate to replace the ageing Andres Iniesta, and are looking to lure to playmaker to Camp Nou, despite the Brazil international having recently signing a new long-term contract with Liverpool.
Barcelona are reportedly set to do whatever it takes to sign Coutinho, and the Spanish media has even labelled the La Liga giants’ tactics to sign the player as ‘Operation Coutinho’.
In fact, at present, the club seems to be on the offensive in their pursuit for the Brazilian’s services, which is why Barca are currently using their very own talisman, Neymar, who also happens to be Coutinho’s international teammate and a good friend, to get this transfer close to completion.
As per Tuesday’s edition of Mundo Deportivo, Neymar recently made a public comment regarding his team’s interest in Coutinho, by stating: “I would sign him. He’s the player [out of all my Brazilian teammates] that I see playing in Barcelona.”
These comments of his come just days after another statement by the Barca winger, wherein he was quoted as saying: “A Premier League player that I would like to have in Barcelona is Coutinho. I believe Philippe Coutinho is a player that would totally fit in Barcelona.”
Moreover, he also dropped a few indirect hints during the pre-match press conference on Monday, when he stated: “The Brazilian team has been attracting the attention of many people, because we are a team that has played really good football.
“We are a team that marks well, that comes out playing, that try to play good football. When you find a good team with this quality, who wants to play football, it’s hard to beat it. That’s what’s catching everyone’s attention.”
A few former Barcelona players have also spoken about this transfer, with Rivaldo having claimed that Coutinho joining Barca would be “ideal”, and Ronaldinho publicly declaring back in December: “I know there is a lot of admiration of him at Barcelona.”