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 By Mike Whalley

Liverpool close in on Coutinho

Liverpool are understood to have agreed an £8.5 million fee with Inter Milan to sign playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

- Blog: Hindsight and redemption 

Liverpool has agreed to a fee to bring in Philippe Coutinho, according to reports.
Philippe Coutinho is considered a talent with huge potential

Coutinho, 20, who also attracted interest from Southampton, is expected to travel to Merseyside early next week for a medical. Liverpool will also need to apply for a work permit for him.

The Brazil international had worked with new Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino while on loan at Espanyol last season, but is reported to have expressed a preference in moving to Liverpool, who had two bids for him turned down last week.

If the deal is completed, he will become manager Brendan Rodgers’ second signing of the January transfer window, following the capture of striker Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea for £12 million.

Rodgers has refused to comment publicly about speculation regarding Coutinho’s arrival, but did indicate on Friday that he was looking to add to his squad before Thursday’s transfer deadline.

“We hope to do some business between now and the end of the month,” he said. “The owners have been brilliant in supporting me. We knew we were maybe a little bit short in the summer. We all agreed this was a month we would try to reinforce, if we could.

“The real plans are for now. Short term, we want to improve and develop. We have brought in Daniel and he has been brilliant. If we can bring in one or two more, then great. If not, the group has worked fantastically well and if we can support it now, then fantastic. It is very much about the now. We want to improve.”

Coutinho came through the youth system at Vasco da Gama before joining Inter at the age of 16. He has won one cap for his national side.

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