Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde remains coy about the possibility of signing Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool during the current transfer window after insisting that the Catalans have a lot of respect for his current side.

Coutinho was poised to move to the Nou Camp in the summer but the deal fell through due to Jurgen Klopp's reluctance to part ways with the Brazil ace.

However, reports in Spain in recent days have claimed that Liverpool have softened their stance and Barcelona are closer than ever to signing their long-term target in a deal worth around €150m (£133.4m, $180m) including add-ons.

Valverde admits that Coutinho is a great player but refused be drawn on those reports.

"[Coutinho] is a player for another team. He is a great player, of course. I don't know what will happen in the future but I like mine much more. We will see what happen if something happens," the Barcelona boss said in the press conference ahead of the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 against Celta Vigo on Thursday night [4 January].

Pressed whether he would be ready to wait until the summer to get the Liverpool ace, Valverde added: "I say the same again. I have nothing to say on Coutinho. He is not our player, he plays for another team. Let's respect the club that he belongs to and respect him, too."

Meanwhile, the Barcelona boss expressed his confidence in keeping Samuel Umtiti at the Nou Camp despite speculation linking him with both Manchester City and Manchester United.

Earlier this week L'Equipe reported that Pep Guardiola is keen on meeting the Frenchman's €60m (£53.5m, $72.1m) release clause at Barcelona to lure him to City ahead of the second half of the season.

Umtiti has been a sensation at Barcelona since his arrival from Lyon in 2016 and his valuation looks a bargain after Liverpool recently paid £75m to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.

But Valverde hopes the Frenchman turn down overture from other clubs to stay at the Nou Camp for the long-term.

"I don't have to worry about what other clubs could do. It is clear that Umtiti is a great player and we hope we can continue to enjoy him here for many more years," Valverde said.

"This depends on the legislation. Here players have clauses and each player has a price. That's how it works the legislation here. Those release clauses can seem really high and then, two or three years later, it doesn't seem that much. Anyway, don't forget that for a player to leave by paying his release clause the player has to want to leave, too. But we're really happy with Umtiti and we think that he is happy in Barcelona and that he'll be here for a long time."

Rafinha Alcantara's future at Barcelona could also be under scrutiny if Coutinho finally arrives at the Nou Camp this month.

The Brazilian is available again for Valverde after having recovered from a knee injury which has kept him on the sidelines since April.

Some reports have suggested that Barcelona could consider sending him on loan in order to secure some regular time somewhere else but asked about that possibility, Valverde said: "Rafinha is training with us after a long time out of action. I already knew him but this is the first few weeks that I've been working with him.

"[His potential loan move away] is a question that we will have to decide. The idea we have is for him to re-join the group and let's see how he feels. [A loan departure] It's something we have not even thought about."

Coutinho is said to be unlikely to play for Liverpool again. Getty