In Friday’s Liverpool transfer round-up, Paris Saint Germain have turned their attention towards Reds’ playmaker Philippe Coutinho after missing out on a number of other attacking options of late, according to reports in the Liverpool Echo.
It is understood that the Laurent Blanc’s side have already sounded out Coutinho’s representatives about a possible move, and that Liverpool are aware of their interest in the 23-year-old – although no official approach has been made at this stage.
The Brazil international is currently contracted to the Reds until the summer of 2020, with the Ligue 1 champions believed to be willing to spend as much as £46million in order to lure the player to the French capital next season.
Coutinho scored 12 goals last season for the Reds and provided a further seven assists. He finished the campaign as the club’s most threatening player on paper, having attempted an impressive 4.3 shots per game and 1.9 key passes – the latter of which could only be bettered by James Milner (2.2).
He capped the season by scooping four awards at the club’s end of season presentation, proving just how highly he is valued by the Anfield outfit. The Brazilian is a player who wouldn’t look out of place in a Barcelona team, and there-in lies his importance to Klopp’s side.
Many fans would see a move to Paris as a step down for Coutinho. While the allure of Champions League football remains, the lack of competition on the domestic stage would hopefully put the player off a move.
In other news, Chelsea are believed to be pursuing Liverpool striker Christian Benteke as an alternative signing should they fail to bring Romelu Lukaku back to the club this summer. According to The Times, while the Everton remains Antonio Conte’s first-choice target, his compatriot would provide a worthy fall-back option.
Benteke, who would been seen by the Italy boss as cover for Diego Costa, had a somewhat disappointing debut season on Merseyside, recording just 14 starts in the Premier League all season. He scored ten goals, despite this lack of game time, however, which suggests he still has something to offer Jurgen Klopp’s side.
A powerhouse in the air, and an accomplished finisher, the 25-year-old evidently needs time to adjust to not being the focal point of a club. The Belgian international proved just how prolific he could be during his time at Aston Villa, where he scored 42 goals in 89 league fixtures, and Chelsea officials will look back to his time in the Midlands when weighing up a move.
It would be nice to see Benteke given another year to prove himself at Anfield, however, a move to Stamford Bridge under Conte would be no bad thing. With Klopp’s re-vamp of the squad set to take place when the window opens, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was one of the first to be shown the exit door.
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