If this turns out to be true, Liverpool need to sharply end any discussions with Barcelona.
Reds officials have been in Spain to thrash out a deal for the 19-year-old winger, who Barcelona are reportedly allowing to leave after Barcelona B were relegated into the third tier of Spanish football.
But while the Traore deal will be a nice end to our summer business, it could be incredibly damaging, too.
The Catalan giants want a clause inserted into the Traore sale which allows them the first option on our Brazilian playmaker should any side make an offer for him in the future. This doesn’t mean we have to sell him, it just means we have to alert Barcelona of any future transfer offers for Coutinho, and accept a bid should it match our valuation.
These kind of clauses can vary of course, and often run out after a few seasons, so it would be unwise to speculate further on exactly what Barcelona are asking.
Coutinho proved last season that he’s very nearly in the ‘world-class’ bracket. The midfielder is technically exceptional and creatively outstanding, and it’s no surprise Barcelona are considering him as a future transfer target.
He signed a lengthy contract extension at the end of last season though, and we need to do all we can to keep hold of him. He’s infinitely more important to us than Traore, and we shouldn’t even consider using Coutinho as a lure to secure the teenage Spaniard.