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Report: Barcelona agree $140 million fee for Philippe Coutinho

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Multiple sources in Spain claim that Barcelona have agreed a fee with Liverpool to sign Philippe Coutinho.

[ MORE: Coutinho wants Barca move ]

Coutinho, 25, is said to be the subject of a $140 million bid from Barca and other reports state the Brazilian playmaker didn’t train with Liverpool on Tuesday after getting treatment on a back problem.

ESPN Deportes claim the initial fee for Coutinho will be $105 million and will rise with add ons to $140 million.

Per the report a delegation from Barcelona flew to Liverpool on Monday to start negotiations over a deal for Coutinho and the player has reportedly told Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool’s directors that he wants to leave for the Nou Camp.

This comes after Klopp has repeatedly stated that Coutinho is not for sale. And remember, Coutinho only signed a new five-year deal at Liverpool in January.

With Barca having $256 million to spend after selling Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, it is clear they’ve earmarked most of that cash for Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele.

Coutinho’s influence at Liverpool has been considerable over the past four seasons since he arrived from Inter Milan in January 2013 for just $11 million.

Despite missing a large chunk of last season through injury Coutinho still had his best goal-scoring season in the Premier League, grabbing 13 goals and adding seven assists as Liverpool finished in fourth place.

Where would he slot in at Barcelona? Likely just behind Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Not a bad role for Coutinho, especially given his connection with Suarez as they came so close to leading Liverpool to the PL title back in 2013-14.

For Liverpool this would be a huge blow but even club legends are stating that this deal would be simply too good to turn down, both financially for the club and for the player. Coutinho will know that the chance to sign for Barcelona may not come around again during his career.

Liverpool will want to stand firm as they prepare for their two-legged UEFA Champions League playoff against Hoffenheim with Klopp understandably eager to keep hold of his main man.

But when certain clubs come calling it is tough to say no, both for Coutinho and Liverpool.

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

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The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”