LIVERPOOL are set to beat Manchester United to sign Philippe Coutinho with a two-year loan offer for the Barcelona outcast, according to reports.
The former Anfield star has been strongly linked with a return to England after failing to discover his Reds form in two seasons at the Nou Camp.
The Brazilian joined the Spanish club in a shock £145million deal but is set to be sold to free up cash for Barca’s £200m pursuit of former star Neymar.
Antoine Griezmann has already completed a £108million switch to Ernesto Valverde’s side which has reduced Coutinho’s first-team chances next season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to make the South American his chief summer signing, but it is thought the 27-year-old favours a return to Merseyside.
Coutinho has now given his approval to a sensational offer from Liverpool to take him on a two-year loan with the option to buy at £88m, according to Calciomercato.
His agent Kia Joorabchian has already fuelled rumours that his client would most likely rule out a move to any of his former club’s Premier League rivals.
He told the Telegraph: “I think Liverpool lies very, very deeply in his heart, he was a big fan of them throughout the campaign [last season].
“He was wishing for them to win the title and he has a very strong affinity there so I think it will be very difficult for him to go to a direct competitor of Liverpool from a personal standpoint.”
However, Joorabchian went on to add that he has been informed that Barcelona do not plan to sell Coutinho regardless of any attackers they bring in.
Latest Transfer News
He said: “I was told they have no intention of selling him, that Barcelona have not spoken to anyone and that stories to the contrary are simply not true.
“I will not let people talk about Philippe and put him down because for one-and-a-half years we have said nothing.
“I won’t let them do that and all of us in Philippe’s camp will not let that happen because Barcelona have told us he is staying.”