27 Mar 2017

Next Alonso? Liverpool free to sign 'exceptional' Barcelona maestro as part of £70m MegaDeal

Thanks to Neymar, the speculation linking Coutinho with a move to Barcelona continues to intensify, and reports in Spain over the weekend claim that the Catalan giants are more determined than ever to sign Liverpool's main man this summer.

Last week, Neymar made yet another public plea for Coutinho to leave Liverpool, and Barcelona are so desperate to seal the deal that they're reportedly willing to include one of their top players in the deal. According to Spanish newspaper Don Balon:

"Coutinho is a priority for Barcelona, and they plan to include Ivan Rakitic as part of the deal in aid to lower the Coutinho's fee".

Prior to his move to Barcelona, Liverpool were heavily linked with a move for Rakitic, and during the 2013-14 season, he hinted that he'd consider a move to Anfield. He told 24 Sata:

"I'm flattered to be linked with a big club like Liverpool, and it fills me with pride. Something is developing, but at the moment there is nothing concrete."

Jordan Henderson is a fan of Rakitic, and when asked last season about players he admires, he told enthused:

“Rakitic is one of the players I watch. He doesn’t get the praise given to Neymar, Messi or Suárez, but he’s so influential and does all the dirty work. He has qualities I can learn off"

The obvious irony here is that Hendo's place in the team (i.e. as the deep lying midfielder) will come under threat if Liverpool sign Rakitic, though knowing Klopp, he'll probably play the Croatian out of position as a number-10, or a right winger.

Obviously, Rakitic is not a like-for-like replacement for Coutinho, but he will undoubtedly strengthen Liverpool's midfield options. Is he a Klopp-type player, though? I doubt it. Whenever I see Rakitic play, he doesn't run around like a headless chicken trying to rack up his regulation 12 miles a game, so Klopp probably won't be interested.

* Rakitic: €45m-rated (CIES). Coutinho: Liverpool reportedly willing to sell for £70m.

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