Liverpool have agreed a £142m deal with Barcelona for midfielder Philippe Coutinho in what will be one of the most expensive transfers of all time.
The Reds are expected to receive £105m up front – a British record – for the 25-year-old Brazil international, with the rest in realistic add-ons.
The final deal will be eclipsed only by the £200m Paris St-Germain paid Barcelona for Neymar last summer, and the £165.7m Kylian Mbappe will cost PSG at the end of his initial loan spell from Monaco.
Coutinho joined Liverpool from Inter Milan for £8.5m in January 2013.
He stayed behind on Merseyside while final negotiations were concluded as his Liverpool team-mates flew to Dubai for a mid-season break.
The formalities of the deal are now expected to be concluded in Spain within the next 24 hours as Coutinho finally secures the switch he has craved since the Spanish giants made their first move for him in the summer.
Liverpool rejected three Barca bids and a transfer request from the player during the summer transfer window.
The last of Barcelona’s three bids was £118m – which included add-ons totalling in excess of £30m based on Coutinho winning the Ballon d’Or and other built-in clauses.
Coutinho only signed a new five-year deal, which did not include a release clause, with the Anfield club in January, having joined the Reds from Inter Milan in January 2013.
He has a minor thigh injury and missed the club’s past two games, including Friday’s FA Cup third-round win against Everton.
Coutinho will not be eligible to play for Barcelona in the Champions League in their last-16 tie against Juventus, having already played a key role in Liverpool’s qualification for the knockout phase.
The world’s biggest transfer deals
£200m – Neymar (Barcelona to Paris St-Germain) 2017
£165.7m – *Kylian Mbappe (Monaco to PSG – *loan deal with option to buy) 2017
£142m – Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool to Barcelona) 2018
£135.5m – Ousmane Dembele (Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona) 2017
£89m- Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United) 2016
– Running story