Real Madrid were prepared to pay €200m (£177m) to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool before the playmaker agreed his move to Barcelona, according to reports in Spain.

Liverpool rejected three bids from the Catalan giants and a transfer request from the player himself during the summer transfer window but on Saturday (6 January) the Premier League side finally confirmed Coutinho's departure for a reported fee of £142m.

The Brazil international will sign a five-and-a-half year contract and will be officially presented at the Nou Camp on Monday, where he is expected to be given the number seven shirt.

Coutinho becomes the most expensive signing in Barcelona's history and second only in the world after Neymar's £200m move to Paris Saint-Germain last summer. But a report from Mundo Deportivo claims Real were prepared to trump Barcelona's offer in an audacious last minute attempt to sign the 25-year-old.

Their report cites sources close to the player confirming the approach from Los Blancos, although it also supports the theory that Real may have just been trying to slow down the transfer by hiking up the price for their arch-rivals and potentially scuppering the move altogether.

Coutinho however was solely focused on joining Barcelona, describing the move as a "dream come true" following confirmation of the deal.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed on Saturday the club had done all they could to try and convince the former Inter Milan schemer to remain on Merseyside.

But Coutinho's mind had been made up from the moment Barcelona made their interest known last July.

"It is no secret that Philippe has wanted this move to happen since July, when Barcelona first made their interest known," Klopp said.

"Philippe was insistent with me, the owners and even his teammates this was a move he was desperate to make happen.

"Despite that, we managed to keep the player here beyond the summer window, hoping that we would be able to persuade him to stay and be part of what we are looking to do."

Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho will be presented at the Nou Camp on Monday. Getty