Philippe Coutinho Refuses to Commit Future to Liverpool Amid £128 Million Transfer Rumors

Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho has admitted he was "interested" in joining Barcelona last summer amid rumors that the Catalan club has a £128 million deal already in place for January.

Coutinho handed in a transfer request at Anfield in August after three of Barcelona's offers for the 25-year-old playmaker were rejected. Liverpool refused Coutinho's request and he has remained at the Premier League club.

On Wednesday, he scored a hat-trick in Liverpool's 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow in the Champions League, but then failed to commit his future to Jurgen Klopp's team.

"I do not know how the future is going to be," the Brazilian said, as quoted by the BBC. "What will happen in January, we will know it in January. I do not know if there will be an offer."

Barcelona saw Coutinho as part of the replacement for Neymar Jr. who moved to Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record £199 million move. The Catalan club signed Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for £90 million but failed in its bids for Coutinho.

Liverpool rebuffed the three offers that were worth £72 million, £90 million and £114 million. "Last summer there was a job offer in the same way that happens with any employee and I was interested in it. Since I stayed I have played with will and desire," Coutinho added.

"Of course, a lot happened in the summer but my will is always to play and do the best wherever I am—that has not changed."

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho at Anfield, Liverpool, England, December 6. Coutinho has said he was "interested" in a move away from Liverpool in the summer. PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty

What will change, according to reports in Spain, however, is where Coutinho will be playing in February. Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo says a £128 million deal is already in place for Coutinho to complete a move to Barcelona when the January transfer window opens.

He will sign a five-year contract at the Camp Nou, the report says, as Barcelona aims to dominate in Europe once again. Barcelona also sees Coutinho as a potential successor for Iniesta who turns 34 in May.

The Brazilian has shown the form that has attracted the attention of Barcelona this year after returning from an injury that kept him out at the beginning of the campaign.

Coutinho has scored nine goals in 11 games for Liverpool since the end of September and has helped make Klopp's attack one of the most lethal in Europe, alongside Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool, meanwhile, is fourth in the Premier League but 15 points off league leader Manchester City, while Barcelona is five points clear at the top of La Liga. The two teams could eventually face each other in the latter stages of the Champions League.