Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu is remaining tight-lipped on Barcelona's pursuit of Philippe Coutinho, praising the highly-rated Liverpool playmaker but also stressing the need to continue to be "very discreet".

Barcelona are long-term admirers of Coutinho and were heavily linked with the player earlier this summer as they seek to secure a long-term replacement for ageing midfield stalwart Andres Iniesta, whose current contract is due to expire in 2018.

Such speculation has ramped up again over recent weeks in light of Neymar's impending world-record switch to Paris Saint-Germain, with Liverpool said to have rejected an opening offer worth £72m ($94.5m) and produced a mammoth £133.7m valuation in order to deter any follow-up bids.

Coutinho only signed a new deal in January and Jurgen Klopp is adamant that he will remain at Anfield beyond the end of the current transfer window.

However, reports from Spain claim that the Brazilian international has already agreed personal terms with Barcelona and is eager to join former Reds teammate Luis Suarez at the Nou Camp. He is also said to be willing to accept a salary less than his current £150,000-a-week in order to secure a move to Catalonia.

Quizzed about Coutinho during an interview with ESPN conducted in advance of the El Clasico Miami clash with rivals Real Madrid at Hard Rock Stadium in Florida on Sunday (30 July), Bartomeu played it coy but did confirm that Barcelona would sign a new midfielder as they look to add to a rather meagre summer haul that includes only Marlon Santos, Gerard Deulofeu and Nelson Semedo.

"He's a Liverpool player and I have a lot of respect for Liverpool," he said. "What we do in the summer is to be very discreet about everything, so we cannot confirm or deny anything."

He added: "More players will come, one in the midfield, definitely."

Coutinho is currently with the rest of the Liverpool squad in Germany, where he was handed the captain's armband for a joint-125th anniversary friendly against Hertha Berlin with regular skipper Jordan Henderson named as a substitute and deputy James Milner ruled out with a thigh injury.

"Yes, you can say he is not for sale," Klopp said of his most valuable asset in Hong Kong last week. "But that's not since this morning or yesterday, it's not been any different. Phil is a very important player for us.

"He's trying to get back his rhythm but there's no doubt about his quality. He's very smart both offensively and defensively. The nice news is that he's still young. He has improved a lot since I've been here and he can still improve a lot."

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho was chosen to captain Liverpool against Hertha Berlin on Saturday