LISTEN: ‘It is very difficult to turn down Barcelona’ – Gary Lineker has his say on Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho

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Gary Lineker has told talkSPORT Liverpool were always going to struggle to keep Philippe Coutinho once Barcelona registered their interest in the playmaker.

Speculation over the Brazilian’s future at Anfield has been rife for weeks, with Barca reportedly seeing two bids – the second in the region of £90million – rejected by the Premier League club.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has repeatedly insisted the Reds maestro is not for sale this summer, and owners Fenway Sports Group reiterated the club’s stance in a strong statement on Friday morning.

However, by Friday lunchtime reports emerged that Coutinho had handed in an official transfer request in an attempt to force through a move to the Nou Camp – claims Liverpool have since denied.

It remains to be seen whether the Merseysiders are able to stick to their guns and keep the Brazilian at Anfield this season.

But Lineker admits the opportunity to join one of the world’s top clubs has always been simply too irresistible for players to ignore.

Speaking to the Weekend Sports Breakfast, the former Barcelona, Leicester and Tottenham striker said: “As a player, it’s very difficult to turn down Barcelona or Real Madrid.

“They have always been the places the greats navigate to, or even some of them who weren’t so great in the past.

“They are still the big clubs.

“But Coutinho signed a new contract not that long ago and he apparently hasn’t got a buy-out clause. Liverpool could be strong, but then they could end up with a grumpy player that doesn’t really want to commit for them.

“Plus, some are saying, ‘well he gets injured quite a bit anyway so why not take £90m for him?’

“Liverpool will desperately want to keep him because it’s not money in the bank you want, it’s players on the pitch.

“But the draw of Barcelona is a big one.”

Gary Lineker was speaking to talkSPORT at the BT Sport Season Launch event.

Listen to the interview IN FULL on the Weekend Sports Breakfast – Tune in on Saturday from 6am!



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