Graham Hunter explains Nike’s role in Barcelona’s pursuit of Liverpool FC star

La Liga expert Graham Hunter sheds light on Nike's role in Barcelona's pursuit of Liverpool FC midfielder Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez Photo: Philippe Coutinho / Instagram

Graham Hunter believes Nike are desperate to get their brand ambassador Philippe Coutinho at their number one club Barcelona.

The Brazil international has firmly established himself as one of the Premier League’s biggest stars in the red of Liverpool FC and New Balance over the past 24 months or so.

Coutinho has scored 12 goals and has made eight assists in 17 starts in the Champions League and the Premier League in the current campaign to rekindle Barcelona’s interest.

The 25-year-old was linked with a move to Barcelona in the summer but Liverpool FC resisted the urge to sell Coutinho in a deal worth in excess of £100m.

The former Inter Milan playmaker handed in a transfer request but the Reds held firm and the Brazilian midfielder remained at Anfield beyond the summer transfer window.

Barcelona have renewed their efforts to sign Coutinho in January amid talk of a potential deal worth around £133m.

La Liga expert Hunter explained why Coutinho’s proposed transfer to Barcelona could happen this month with some help from Nike.

“I have to admit, I thought it was a difficult one for them to do in the transfer window,” Hunter told Irish radio station Newstalk. “He can’t play in the Champions League.

“Barcelona shouldn’t need a player of Coutinho’s quality to get them home in La Liga. The concept of him playing at Barcelona is no established with the Nike gaffe.

“When Nike are doing that, even though it’s extraordinary and terrible gaffe, it’s clear Nike want a big brand name player at their number one brand name club Barcelona rather than playing in New Balance.

“It is clear they are behind the move and help Barcelona with it. They can do the price if they are willing to abandon other things they were working at.”

Biographies: Find out more about Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho netted 13 goals and made seven assists in 31 appearances in the Premier League last season to help the Reds secure a place in the Champions League last term.

Liverpool FC signed four players in the summer transfer window to prepare their squad for a return to Europe.

MORE: Latest Liverpool FC news and views

MORE: Football transfer rumours and gossip

Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker tells Jurgen Klopp to switch Liverpool FC star’s position
Gossip
Frenkie De Jong
Fabrizio Romano provides update on Chelsea FC link to Frenkie De Jong
Arsene Wenger
Have Arsenal, Liverpool FC Or Man United Ever Been Relegated?
Arsene Wenger
When Did Arsenal Last Win The Premier League?
Gossip
Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth
Sky Sports reporter delivers update on Chelsea FC search for next signing
Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker tells Jurgen Klopp to switch Liverpool FC star’s position
Gossip
Frenkie De Jong
Fabrizio Romano provides update on Chelsea FC link to Frenkie De Jong
Arsene Wenger
Have Arsenal, Liverpool FC Or Man United Ever Been Relegated?
Arsene Wenger
When Did Arsenal Last Win The Premier League?
Gossip
Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth
Sky Sports reporter delivers update on Chelsea FC search for next signing
Slideshow
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature