Klopp Countering Coutinho to Spain Rumours with Raid of Barcelona B
The Liverpool boss has dispatched scouts to assess promising Blaugrana reserves.
Just like in secondary school, where you often found yourself in competition with the popular, richer, better-looking jock in vying for the attentions of a shared love interest, so also has there been no small degree of apprehension among Liverpool fans upon the publication of recent reports from Barcelona mouthpiece, Deporte, that Luis Enrique is now back in for Liverpool talisman, Philippe Coutinho
On the back of a dazzling start to the season, with O Mágico arguably already registering three goal of the season candidates from his four league strikes to go with his four assists, the plaudits—and the admirers—have streamed in, most notably from the Liga giants.
Jürgen Klopp doesn’t quite strike even the casual observer as the sort to lay down without a fight and has coupled an alleged offer of a new deal to the Brazilian with a lightning counter press on the would-be Catalan suitors in the form of sending scouts to scour the Barcelona B team in search of the sort silver-footed technicians both clubs are particularly desirous of.
The Barcelona academy is one of the most highly regarded in European football and has produced current Nou Camp first-teamers such as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets or Sergi Roberto.
However, the Catalan club were forced to make a major summer overhaul to their second team during last summer following a couple of poor campaigns. Having been relegated from the second division in the 2014-2015 season, they ended in a disappointing 11th position in Spanish Second Division B (Spanish football’s third tier) last year.
Barcelona subsequently made a number of new additions to bolster the squad, such as Alberto Varo, Jose Antonio Martínez, Jesús Alfaro, Ignacio Abeledo,Marc Cardona, ‘Nili’ Perdomoor and Marlon Santos.
The revolution has paid off as the Catalan reserves are now currently leading their league following an impressive start to the campaign, having lost only three games in the first 11 of the season.
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has looked to some of these players to help address the injury situation at the Nou Camp. Marlon, Nili and 18-year-old Carles Aleña, who is said to be the biggest jewel of the second team, have all been included in the first-team squad for the Champions League clash with Manchester City on Tuesday (1 November), having already made the team in the weekend victory over Granada.
Last week Sport said Barcelona were expected to complete the purchase of Marlon Santos from Fluminense before the end of the year as he is currently on loan at the Nou Camp.
But now the Catalan publication claims that the impressive campaign of Marlon and his Barcelona B teammates has attracted the attention of Liverpool.
Deporte reports that Kiko Espinar, Liverpool’s scout for Spain and Portugal, has been spotted at the Barcelona second team’s matches of recent, and while specific targets have not been identified, the paper has made some speculations. Of potential interest are supposedly, midfielder Wilfrid Kaptoum, who has run out for the first team on several occasions, including a goal-scoring cameo in the Copa Del Rey semi-final last season, forward Marc Cardona, a promising young attacker with five goals from four so far this term, and two defenders in Marlon and Nili.
With Klopp declaring the end of Liverpool’s days as a record-setting selling club, the need for not only a top four finish but also a sustained title challenge is potentially now taking on a new urgency, particularly in light of reports that Coutinho’s representatives discreetly reached out to Barcelona at the end of Liverpool’s trophyless, 8th-place league finish last season. When you have the same tastes as the big boys, you have to be prepared to defend your turf.
— Diario SPORT (@sport) October 31, 2016
Translation >> “Liverpool want to fish in the Barça B”