Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho is being touted for an exit from Anfield by his agent, according to club legend Phil Thompson. The Brazil international continues to be linked with moves away from Merseyside, and the former Reds midfielder believes he would be a perfect fit for Barcelona or Real Madrid upon his seemingly inevitable departure.
Sport understands that the 24-year-old is keen on a move to the Nou Camp after his agents Kia Joorabchian and Giuliano Bertolucci sounded out the Catalans last year. Coutinho agreed a new contract until 2020 in February 2015, yet his impressive recent displays have thrown his future into doubt.
With five goals and four assists in all competitions for Liverpool this season Coutinho has spearheaded the club's impressive start to the campaign, which sees them trail Premier League co-leaders Manchester City and Arsenal on goal difference after 10 matches. Manager Jurgen Klopp has welcomed the interest in Coutinho, but Thompson believes he is being lined up for a move away next summer.
"He could play and you could see him fitting in the Barcelona or Real Madrid team," he told Sky Sports. "I am being serious, he has that much ability, great technique. And he has become that big star, and of course once you start getting something, you do hear that all the big Spanish clubs will be chasing him, so his agent has been working extra hard in the last couple of weeks."
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Coutinho could play for any club in the world, having produced a series of stunning displays at the beginning of the campaign. But asked about interest from the La Liga pair in Coutinho and full-back Nathaniel Clyne, Klopp was surprisingly positive about the speculation.
"That's a really good sign! Only the big clubs, yes?" Klopp said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo before the 4-2 win at Crystal Palace. "A few months ago it was like 'he will go to Aston Villa and try to bring them back to the Premier League'. What can I say? It's better that they talk about Real Madrid and Barcelona."