Liverpool and Barcelona have agreed terms for the £145m transfer of Philippe Coutinho.As our exclusive pictures show, the Brazilian playmaker is travelling to Spain via London on Saturday evening to put finishing touches to the deal.Coutinho, 25 years old is expected to watch Barcelona’s home La Liga match with Levante on Sunday afternoon.It is the second most expensive transfer of all-time, behind his compatriot Neymar, who left Barcelona to join Paris Saint-Germain in a £198m move last summer.
Coutinho at Liverpool
2012-13 13 games, 3 goals
2013-14 37 games, 5 goals
2014-15 52 games, 8 goals
2015-16 43 games, 12 goals
2016-17 36 games, 14 goals
2017-18 18 games, 12 goals
It is the biggest-ever fee for a player who did not have a release clause in their contract and represents a handsome profit for Liverpool, who signed Coutinho from Inter Milan for £8.5m in 2013.The transfer will also break the record for a player sold by an English club, with Barcelona paying around £106m up front and remainder in add-ons.Barcelona had been prepared to pay £97.5m up front plus a further £35m in add-ons but Liverpool managed to squeeze more out of the Catalans after last week’s Nike website blunder that announced the Brazilian as a Barca player.The add-ons will see Liverpool earn a further £17.7m once Coutinho has played 100 games, plus smaller payments of £4.4m for each of first two Champions Leagues he qualifies for and the first two European titles he wins.If he signs at start of this week he could make his debut on Thursday in the Spanish Cup against Celta Vigo.He will not be able to play for Barcelona in the Champions League so participation both in Copa del Rey and La Liga will be important for him ahead of next summer’s World Cup.His arrival allows Andres Iniesta the player he has been bought to replace in the long-term to rest for European competition. It also reunites him with Luis Suarez who he formed a close friendship with on Merseyside.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was adamant last summer that Coutinho would not be allowed to leave and rejected a number of bids from Barcelona which went as high as £114m.Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group took the unusual step of releasing a statement declaring player would not be sold in that transfer window.However, Liverpool’s stand has since softened, paving the way for the deal to take place now.Coutinho leaves Anfield having scored 54 goals in 200 matches for Liverpool, though he didn’t win any silverware.Liverpool beat Everton 2-1 in the FA Cup third round on Friday evening, thanks to a goal from their new £75m central defender Virgil van Dijk.Coutinho was not part of Klopp’s matchday squad.
Football’s most expensive buys
1. Neymar (2017, Barcelona to PSG, £198m)
2. Philippe Coutinho (2018, Liverpool to Barcelona, £145m)
3. Ousmane Dembele (2017, Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona, £97m)
4. Paul Pogba (2016, Juventus to Manchester United, £89m)
5. Gareth Bale (2013, Tottenham to Real Madrid, £86m)
6. Cristiano Ronaldo (2009, Manchester United to Real Madrid, £80m)
7. Gonzalo Higuain (2016, Napoli to Juventus, £75.3m)
8. Neymar (2013, Santos to Barcelona, £71.5m)
9= Romelu Lukaku (2017, Everton to Manchester United, £75m)
9= Virgil van Dijk (2018, Southampton to Liverpool, £75m)
9= Luis Suarez (2014, Liverpool to Barcelona, £75m)