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Philippe Coutinho will join Barcelona on deadline day in the summer transfer window after Liverpool accepted a fourth bid of £138m for the Brazil playmaker, reports suggest. Despite the Reds knocking back three previous offers for the 25-year-old, they have finally caved to pressure from the Catalan giants and will allow their star player to depart in dramatic fashion.
The Sun understand Coutinho will be unveiled at 7pm this evening [31 August] a day before the transfer window in Spain closes. After months of talks a breakthrough was finally reached on Wednesday [30 August], after Coutinho had threatened to personally intervene in negotiations to force through a move.
Should the deal be completed then the fee will eclipse the £133m Barcelona intend to pay Borussia Dortmund for France international Ousmane Dembele, who completed his move to the Nou Camp after one year in the Bundesliga earlier this week. Furthermore, it leaves Liverpool scrambling around to find a replacement with the Premier League transfer window due to slam shut at 11pm.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has arrived from Arsenal on a long-term deal in the first signing completed by Liverpool on deadline day, but Jurgen Klopp will surely seek to directly replace Coutinho, with Monaco's Thomas Lemar and West Ham United forward Manuel Lanzini both linked with moves to Anfield.
Coutinho has emerged as Liverpool's most important player in recent seasons and last term played a central role in returning the club back to the Champions League for the second time in eight seasons. He contributed 14 goals and nine assists in all competitions and the void he is set to leave in the Merseysiders' first team could be near impossible to fill.
Despite being a popular player around Liverpool, his relationship with the club has soured in recent weeks. Coutinho submitted a transfer request earlier this summer in order to force through his move to Barcelona, a club which has significant pull for players of South American heritage.
Klopp has steadfastly denied Coutinho will be sold but the former Inter Milan schemer has been curiously omitted from Liverpool's first five games of the campaign due to abdominal and back injuries. The Brazil national team have since denied Coutinho is suffering from any fitness issues and manager Tito wants what is best for the player, even if that means leaving Liverpool.
"My thing is in the pitch, that's my concern," he said, according to Goal.com. "We have different realities. But I've talked to Coutinho, told him the same I've told you: go where you feel happy. If it's Liverpool, I'll be ok. If it's another one, I'll be ok.
"I have to know my limits. I don't have to have opinion about everything. I don't want to be a showman, to be talking about everything. I'm very discreet in this kind of things. And fair. And justice is that he can be happy. I don't know which club he's going to. He'll decide it. But the Brazilian squad won't lose him."