While Barcelona have a hole left in their attack with the departure of Neymar to PSG, the £198 million received for the player has not left a hole in their finances. The Spanish side intend to use the money to splash out on his replacement, and they have Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho in their sights.
With the La Liga side losing a key player and needing to replace him, the Neymar transfer has caused a domino effect between other major clubs around the world: Neymar leaves Barcelona, they need to replace him; they replace him with Player X from Club Y, so Club Y needs to buy a player from Club Z.
Sky Sports argues that the Brazilian's attitude has been as first class as his football. While the 25-year-old wants a move to Spain, he will not force a move and push his current club against its will. Liverpool's position on the move remains unchanged, after rejecting an initial £72 million bid from Barça; although it is understood they are willing to up their offer to £109 million.
Coutinho recently signed a five-year contract in January, with no release clause - something the Parisians triggered in Neymar's contract to lure the Barcelona star to Parc des Princes. He had his most productive season at Anfield last season since joining from Inter Milan in 2013, scoring 14 goals in the campaign.
During Liverpool's pre-season games, he has shown to be "fully committed" and played excellently in their wins against Hertha Berlin and Bayern Munich, the Daily Post argues. He has, however, been sidelined since a back issue flared up during last week’s Audi Cup and not trained with his team-mates as he continues to have treatment.
He would be an excellent acquisition for Barcelona, and appears to be part one of their Neymar replacement plan, Yahoo Sports reports. He will be tasked with filling some of the void left behind by his compatriot at Camp Nou; and the attacking midfielder could replicate Neymar's production if the La Liga side "bring the best of his bubbly attacking talents to the surface". Equally, he could serve as an heir to 33-year-old Iniesta, with Coutinho being comfortable playing both wide and centrally.
If he stays at Liverpool, and recovers from the back issue, Philippe Coutinho could play in the Reds' opening Premier League game against Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday (K.O. 12.30pm).