Liverpool have increased their bid for Internazionale attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho, but risk missing out on the Brazilian’s signature to Southampton, according to the Independent.
The story states that Liverpool have improved their initial £6 million bid for the 20-year-old to £8 million. While that may well be tempting to Inter, who are looking to cut costs, Southampton have reportedly trumped Liverpool’s offer with a bid of £10 million.
On paper it would seem that Coutinho would push for a move to Liverpool, but Southampton will be aided in their pursuit by the fact that their new boss Mauricio Pochettino managed Coutinho at Espanyol during a loan spell last season.
Liverpool may also be exploring alternatives with the club linked with a move for Bolton Wanderers winger Chung-yong Lee. Sky Sports reports their understanding that the South Korean international may well be the subject of a bid before the close of the transfer window, with Liverpool said to be one of the clubs interested in the 24-year-old.
Lee missed virtually all of last season with a broken leg and his absence was often cited as a leading reason in Bolton’s relegation from the Premier League. Bolton currently lie in 16th spot in the Championship and have little prospect of even making the playoffs for a chance to return to the Premier League next season.
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Having been repeatedly linked to a move since earning rave reviews for his performances after joining Bolton in 2009, Lee may well now decide the time is right to move on.
As well as Coutinho, Lee may also be seen as an alternative to Tom Ince. The winger, who admittedly plays on the other flank to Lee, appears no closer to joining Liverpool from Blackpool.
Liverpool may have to forget about signing another reported target—Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes. The 31-year-old last week announced that he would not be extending his current contract, which is set to expire in the summer of 2014.
Speculation immediately mounted that the decision would lead to a divorce between the club and the player as early as this summer.
However, according to Spanish publication Marca, Barcelona do not intend to push Valdes toward the exit door at the end of the season. Reportedly, Valdes will be allowed to make up his own mind about his future.
Valdes, who has spent his entire career at Barcelona, was rumored as a potential replacement for Pepe Reina. Coincidentally, Reina has been cited as a target for Barcelona to take the place of Valdes at the Camp Nou.
Liverpool could yet move for young Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland. The Reds are one of a number of clubs to be linked to the much-lauded 19-year-old and the England international may well be moving on in January.
The Daily Telegraph reports that cash-strapped Birmingham are desperate to spark interest in Butland and have cut his asking price to just £3.5 million. It is believed that Southampton had a £6 million bid rejected last summer.
Butland kept goal for Great Britain in the 2012 London Games.