Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho would 'bring a lot' to Barcelona - Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez has told Mundo Deportivo that Philippe Coutinho would make a big impact were he to sign for Barcelona and praised the Liverpool playmaker's professionalism following a failed summer move to the Camp Nou.
Barca had three bids rejected for Coutinho and claimed Liverpool demanded €200 million for the Brazil international on deadline day, a fee they were not prepared to match.
The English side rejected that claim but their resolve is likely to be tested again in January, with Barca's CEO Oscar Grau recently saying the finances are in place to make signings when the transfer window reopens.
Suarez played with Coutinho at Anfield and understands why the player, who handed in a transfer request in the summer, would be keen to make the move to Barcelona.
"I've spoken with Coutinho because I have a good relationship with him," Suarez said. "Obviously he must be excited [to come to Barcelona] because he's a player with ambition and any player would want to come to Barcelona.
"It was a difficult moment [in the summer] but he's a professional and since [the transfer didn't happen] he has shown how good a player he is and the qualities he has a person. Despite trying to leave Liverpool, he's continued to help the team and work hard. He's showing himself to be a professional with the ambition to take a step forward [in his career].
"He would bring a lot to Barca. I know him as a person and a player because I played with him, but everyone knows what Coutinho could bring. He's a player at the top level."
Barca have had a long-standing interest in Coutinho but it was the sale of Neymar -- and the €222m they received from Paris Saint-Germain -- which prompted them to take that interest to the next level.
Neymar has been back in Barcelona to visit his former teammates recently but Suarez denied reports the forward is having regrets about quitting the club.
"Not at all," he told Diario Sport when asked if Neymar was longing for a return to Catalonia. "'Ney' is mature enough to know if he regrets leaving and he would say it himself -- it doesn't need to be said by other people.
"We miss him a lot on the pitch, but more off it, because he was special. We had a lot of fun; he transmits happiness and joy all the time. He's playing for another team now but I don't hold it against him at all. I tried to convince him to stay because I think this is the best place for him, but it's a decision he had to take.
"[Lionel Messi and I] tried to do what would benefit the team. But we never said, 'Don't go because you won't be happy.' We said, 'We didn't want him to go, but that he was free to do what he wanted.' Because of the friendship we have, it was painful that he left."
Suarez renewed his contract with Barca until 2021 last December, while Messi has agreed to an extension -- though he has yet to sign the terms -- and the Uruguay international hopes they will both remain at the club for the foreseeable future.
"I hope to stay here playing with Leo for many more years," Suarez added. "I hope to complete my contract, that's what I want. I want to be at the top level for as long as I can, like I am here in Barcelona. I'd like to retire here, but it's difficult.
"I would love it if Messi retired here, too, because of what he is, for what he's meant to the club and for the admiration I have for him. Hopefully soon enough there will be good news [and he will sign his contract]. The numbers [600 games, 523 goals], the images... It all speaks for itself about what he is, what he means. He's the best player ever and it's an honour to have him as a teammate."
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.