By Arun Nair – (@Nair_39)
Liverpool are reportedly close to finalising the transfer of Internazionale starlet Philippe Coutinho, after agreeing a fee in the region of £8million plus add-ons. The agreement follows a week of lengthy negotiations during which the Serie A side rejected a lower offer of £6million. The Brazilian, 20, is expected on Merseyside early next week for a medical and to complete the formalities of the deal, while Liverpool are confident their application for his work permit will be granted.
Blessed with technical ability and pace, the youngster, who has one cap for Brazil, can play in central midfield, out wide or in the No 10 role as a second striker.
Coutinho came through the youth system at Vasco da Gama before joining Inter at the age of 16 for roughly £3million, but struggled to gain a regular place in the Italian giants’ first eleven. He spent the second half of last season on loan at Espanyol, scoring 5 goals in 16 appearances.
It was during his spell with the Spanish side that Coutinho worked with newly appointed Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino, who was clearly impressed and his new side had a bid of £10million accepted.
However, Coutinho dealt his old manager a blow after informing his current employers of his preference to move to Anfield, rather than to St. Mary’s and a reunion with Pochettino.
Brendan Rodgers had said on Friday he was still looking to add one or two players to his Liverpool squad before this Thursday’s transfer deadline:
“We hope to do some business between now and the end of the month. The owners have been brilliant in supporting me. We knew we were maybe a little bit short in the summer. We all agreed this was a month we would try to reinforce, if we could.”
According to several sources, Coutinho will earn around £40,000 per week, and according to Sky Italia, will wear the No.17 shirt at Anfield.