INTER Milan midfielder Philippe Coutinho is set to become Liverpool’s second signing of the January transfer window.
The Reds’ initial bid of 6million euros (£5million) was rejected by the Italian club but they are ready to increase that offer to push the deal through.
Cash-strapped Inter are willing to sell the 20-year-old Brazil international, who has indicated he’s keen on a move to Anfield.
Liverpool are confident further negotiations this week will reach a successful conclusion and Coutinho is viewed as a hugely exciting talent.
Blessed with pace and technically gifted, the versatile youngster can play in central midfield, out wide or in the No 10 role as a second striker.
Boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to add to the £12million signing of striker Daniel Sturridge with at least two more new faces before the window shuts next week.
The arrival of Coutinho won’t stop Liverpool from looking to complete a deal for Blackpool winger Tom Ince - but only if the price is right.
Liverpool value 20-year-old Ince at £6million. Under the terms of Ince’s departure to the Championship club 18 months ago, the Reds are entitled to 35% of any sale so their cash offer is £4million.
Blackpool turned that down, demanding an extra £2million, but the Reds have no intention of meeting those demands.
Unless the Seasiders have a change of heart, Rodgers is prepared to walk away in the knowledge that the England Under-21s international will enter the final year of his contract this summer.
Liverpool’s hopes of signing Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder were dashed last night after the attacking midfielder agreed to move to Galatasaray for £6.3million.
The Reds held initial talks with the Dutch international’s representatives but they weren’t able to match the Turkish side’s lucrative contract offer of £100,000 per week after tax.
Sneijder favoured a move to the Premier League but wasn’t prepared to take a significant pay cut in order to realise that ambition.
Instead Liverpool’s attentions are now focused on Sneijder’s former team-mate Coutinho.
The Brazilian, who began his career at Vasco da Gama in his homeland, was sold to Serie A outfit Inter for 4million euros at the age of 16 in 2008.
He remained at Vasco on loan for a further two years and made his full international debut in 2010 in a friendly against Iran.
Coutinho finally moved to Inter in July 2010 and made his debut a month later in the UEFA Super Cup final against Atletico Madrid.
After finding his opportunities limited, he spent the second half of last season on loan at Espanyol and he impressed in Spain, scoring five goals in 16 league appearances.
This season Coutinho has grown frustrated at once again being on the fringes of the Inter squad and he’s ready to make a fresh start at Anfield.