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Barcelona eye up controversial alternative after ‘ending interest’ in Philippe Coutinho

The Catalans are looking at signing a former Real Madrid star after Liverpool refused to drop their stance

This really would put the cat amongst the pigeons.

Barcelona’s well-publicised pursuit of Philippe Coutinho is getting no closer to a breakthrough.


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Coutinho wants to leave but Liverpool won't entertain any bids

PA:Press Association
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Coutinho wants to leave but Liverpool won’t entertain any bids

Despite the Liverpool star handing in a transfer request a couple of weeks ago, the Reds’ stance remains umoved – he’s not for sale at any price.

Barca have failed with three bids for Coutinho this summer, with the last a package totalling £118m including add-ons categorically rejected on Friday.

So who should they turn to as an alternative?

Well everybody’s favourite Spanish football expert Guillem Balague believes it could be a rather controversial choice.

Balague claims, as well as pursuing Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele and Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, the Catalans want former Real Madrid attacker Angel di Maria should they fail to land Coutinho.

Di Maria would be a controversial alternative

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Di Maria would be a controversial alternative

Di Maria may find his first-team chances at PSG under threat this season after the arrival of Neymar for a world record £196m fee earlier this month.

But how would the move go down in Madrid?

Few players have dared to cross the intense Barca-Real divide down the years, with Samuel Eto’o the last player to play for both sides when he joined the Catalans in 2004 having started his career in the Spanish capital.

Di Maria was the man of the match in the 2014 Champions League final for Real

Getty Images
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Di Maria was the man of the match in the 2014 Champions League final for Real

Barca certainly need the firepower in attacking positions though and are armed with a serious war chest after Neymar’s exit.

Lionel Messi went from the relentless MSN trio last season to playing alongside Gerard Deulofeu and Paco Alcacer at the weekend after Luis Suarez also picked up an injury.

Luis Figo famously had a pig’s head thrown at him after leaving Barca for Real – so what fate could meet Di Maria if he chose to follow suit?

Luis Figo had a severed pig's head thrown at him as he attempted to take a corner at the Nou Camp

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Figo had a severed pig’s head thrown at him as he attempted to take a corner at the Nou Camp
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