Philippe Coutinho completes record transfer to Barcelona from Liverpool

Football


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Philippe Coutinho has completed his transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona for a club-record fee.

The 25-year-old Brazil international forward signed a five-and-a-half-year contract shortly after 1 p.m. local time, after which he was scheduled to be presented to media and supporters at the Camp Nou stadium.

Coutinho underwent his medical on Monday morning despite a thigh problem that ruled him out of Liverpool’s last two games, following the two clubs agreeing a deal on Saturday. The club said in a statement: “Coutinho has an injury to his right thigh and he is expected to be out for around 3 weeks.”

That means Coutinho is likely to miss at least Barcelona’s next three games — against Celta Vigo (Jan. 11), Real Sociedad (Jan. 14) and Real Betis (Jan. 21). Barca are at home to Alaves on Jan. 28, before playing a local derby away at Espanyol on Feb. 4.

The transfer fee was not confirmed publicly, but sources told ESPN FC that it would reach £142 million (€160m, $192.7m), with Liverpool receiving £105m (€120m, $142m) up front and the rest in performance-related add-ons.

Even the base figure would make Coutinho the second-most expensive player in world football behind Neymar, who left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain last summer in a deal worth €222m (£200m, $263m).

Coutinho told Barca TV on Sunday: “I’m very happy, very happy. I have always said that it is a dream that I am living and I am very happy to be here.

“To be able to play, win titles, make the fans happy, always play with joy.

“It is incredible to know that I am going to live with idols, players with a lot of history.

“Footballers like Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique, [Sergio] Busquets.

Philippe Coutinho was presented to media in Barcelona on Sunday ahead of completing his move from Liverpool
Philippe Coutinho has completed his move to Barcelona for a club-record fee.

Coutinho is already familiar with the city, having spent time living in Barcelona while on loan at Espanyol from Inter Milan in 2012, before eventually joining Liverpool from the Italian side for €10m the following year.

In five seasons at Anfield, where he played alongside future Barca teammate Luis Suarez, he has made 201 appearances and scored 54 goals, becoming a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s team.

Klopp had stressed on several occasions over the past few months that Coutinho was not for sale at any price despite Barca’s continued interest.

However, Coutinho’s desire to move to the Camp Nou eventually paved the way for negotiations to open between the two clubs, with Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group reluctantly giving up on keeping the Brazilian.

Coutinho becomes Barcelona’s fifth signing of the season following the return of Gerard Deulofeu to his boyhood club and the arrivals of Ousmane Dembele, Paulinho and Nelson Semedo last summer.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.





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