Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has admitted his admiration of Philippe Coutinho but stopped short of saying a bid could go in.

Barca coy on Coutinho swoop

Barca coy on Coutinho swoop

La Liga leaders Barca are expected to make a January move for the talented Brazilian having seen a series of offers rejected during the summer.

While Valverde admitted 25-year-old Coutinho is a quality player, he preferred to speak about players already tied to the Catalan club.

"He plays on another team, he's a good player and we do not know what will happen in the future, the ones that worry me most are the ones I have right now," said Valverde ahead of Thursday's Copa del Rey match against Celta Vigo.

When asked again about Coutinho, Valverde replied: "I have nothing to say about Coutinho, we respect that he is in another club."

Earlier in the day, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher urged the Anfield club not to sell Coutinho in the current transfer window but agree a deal for him to leave this summer.

Carragher wrote on Twitter: "Best thing @LFC is agree the BIG fee for Coutinho to go in the summer like we've done with (Naby) Keita, not now.

"What do the club gain by doing it now? Top 4 & CL progression seriously risked if they sell in Jan, & difficult to replace him now. If he goes on strike he damages himself."

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