• Barcelona president and CEO have been in direct communication with Liverpool owners over Coutinho.
  • The Brazil international still remains priority for the Catalan club and their manager Ernesto Valverde.

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho still remains a priority transfer target for Barcelona in January and the La Liga outfit are looking to complete his signing early in the mid-season transfer window.

According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, there would be more moments this week in the Catalan club's efforts to sign the Brazil international compared to those of the last few weeks and months.

Coutinho was wanted by the Spanish side in the summer. Their multiple approaches were rejected by the Reds and despite the player's decision to hand in a transfer request, he was not allowed to complete a switch to Camp Nou.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and CEO Oscar Grau have held talks with Liverpool's American owners and their sporting director Michael Edwards. Sport claims Ernesto Valverde's side will push for a move in the first week of the January transfer window and expect the deal to go through. The meeting between the two clubs has been scheduled on 3 January 2018.

The former Inter Milan man's agent is expected to travel to Europe and conduct negotiations with Liverpool in order to convince them to allow his client complete a switch to Barcelona. Coutinho and the Blaugrana have already personal terms in the summer.

Liverpool have slapped a €140m (£124.6m, $167.2m) price and if Barcelona agree to meet the Premier League club's valuation, the Reds will sanction Coutinho's sale. However, the fee will be paid in installments.

Mundo Deportivo and Sport both claim that Barcelona want to avoid carrying the summer transfer saga into the winter transfer window. The La Liga leaders are hoping to secure the deal early in the window so that they have enough time for alternatives if the deal does not take shape.

Both outlets also report that this time, Barcelona are optimistic about an agreement on the fee with Liverpool than they were in the summer. They are keen on securing the 26-year-old's signature in January as they fear his price could shoot up further after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Coutinho has been in fine form at Liverpool this season, scoring seven goals and registering six assists in 13 Premier League appearances. He also scored five goals and registered an assist so far in the group stages of the Champions League.

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho still remains Barcelona's priority target in the January transfer Getty