BARCELONA (AFP) – Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde shrugged off speculation over an imminent swoop for Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho on Wednesday by insisting: “I prefer the players I currently have in the team.”
Brazilian international forward Coutinho has been linked with a $180 million switch to the Spanish giants in the current transfer window just as he was when the English side thwarted a series of approaches from Barca last summer.
“I have nothing to say on the subject of Coutinho, he isn’t one of our players,” said Valverde.
“He is at another team and we respect the fact that he is at another team. He is a great player and we don’t know what is going to happen in the future.
“However, I much prefer the players that I currently have in my team and they are the ones who concern me.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has also refused to get caught up in the feverish speculation over the 25-year-old’s immediate future.
Rumours of a move to the Camp Nou were fuelled by pictures of a Barcelona shirt with Coutinho’s name appearing on the website of Nike, the Catalan club’s kit manufacturer, over the weekend.