Despite initial bid rejected by Liverpool Barca have made Coutinho No1 target to replace Neymar who is keen to join Paris Saint-Germain
BARCELONA have made Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho their No1 target to replace Neymar this summer.
The Merseysiders have already rejected Barca’s £72million bid for the Brazilian as the Catalans plan for life after Neymar.
The Spaniards are ready to go back with an improved offer because they fear Neymar will make a sensational switch to Paris Saint-Germain this summer – and want his fellow countryman to take his place at the Nou Camp.
PSG are prepared to make a huge statement this summer and obliterate the world transfer record with a mind-blowing £195m deal to take Neymar to France.
Boss Unai Emery is under pressure to deliver the Champions League after thier disastrous loss to Barca last season with the Qatari owners willing to back him in the transfer market.
Moneybags PSG are confident they can sign the Brazilian superstar, a move that could pave the way for Coutinho to head to Spain.
Neymar, 25 has spent four years at the Nou Camp – sources in Spain have told SunSport he is ready to take up a new challenge and is excited by the PSG project.
The former Santos star has achieved what he set out to do when he left Brazil for Spain in 2013 and now has set his sights on being the star man in Paris.
But Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has blasted Barca insisting they are wasting their time trying to lure Coutinho to Spain who signed a new five-year deal in January.
Klopp said: “I’m not surprised that any clubs are interested in players at Liverpool. A few people obviously see that Liverpool has a few good players.
“But it’s a very important message to make – we are not a selling club. That’s how it is.”
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Neymar: Who is the Brazilian star?
- Born on February 5, 1992 in Mogi das Cruzes, Sao Paulo
- Joined local side Portugesa Santista as a seven-year-old, before mocing to Santos at 11
- Made his senior debut for Santos at just 17, scoring 14 goals in total his first season
- At age 18 he led Santos to the Brazilian title and came third in the South American Footballer of the Year award
- Won man of the match in the 2011 Copa Libertadores final, as Santos beat Penarol – it was the Brazilian club’s first time winning the competition since Pele was playing 1963
- Eventually left Santos in 2013 after winning three Brazilian titles and scoring 136 goals in 225 matches – all before 21
- Moved to Barcelona in 2013, with Barca president Josep Bartomeu charged with tax fraud after it was revealed he had paid the star’s parents €40million
- iIn five years at the club has helped Barcelona win two La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey three times, the Club World Cup and the Champions League in 2015
- Has scored 105 goals in 186 matches for Barca, adding 59 assists in that time
- Fast-tracked into the Brazil national team at just 18, he already has 52 goals in 77 caps – fourth on the all-time list.
- Has been the Selecao’s permanent captain since 2015
Neymar has seen Lionel Messi sign a staggering £500,000-a-week deal this month and despite penning his own new contract last October would look to get near the Argentinians numbers in the French capital.