London – Liverpool will send a senior delegation to Italy today to wrap up the £8.5million signing of Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan.
The Anfield club on Saturday agreed a deal with Inter for the 20-year-old and expect him to arrive on Merseyside on Monday for a medical. A work permit hearing for the player will take place in London on Tuesday.
Liverpool beat off strong competition from Southampton for the player, with new Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino having worked with him previously at Espanyol.
The signing is a victory for Anfield owner John W Henry, even more than manager Brendan Rodgers. Henry has dictated a policy at Liverpool of trying to sign young players whose value could increase during their time on Merseyside. Liverpool signed striker Daniel Sturridge, 23, for £12m at the start of the current transfer window.
Coutinho joined Inter from his first club Vasco da Gama and won the Italian Super Cup, Italian Cup and Fifa World Club Cup during his time at San Siro, also spending time on loan with Espanyol.
The signing makes Liverpool the biggest spenders in the current transfer window – a change from the summer when Rodgers was left bitterly disappointed after allowing Andy Carroll to join West Ham on loan but failing to sign Clint Dempsey as his replacement, leaving Luis Suarez as their only senior striker. Rodgers said recently he is happy with Liverpool’s more positive recruitment policy.
“The lines of communication are very clear, everyone knows where they are. There’s a small group of us who communicate a lot and look at the players we want to bring in. It has worked very, very well and that relationship will only get better.”
Meanwhile, two former Arsenal players who had the world at their feet a few years ago will get a chance to rekindle their careers this month. Tottenham winger David Bentley, 28, (left) is desperate to go out on loan after returning from a spell with FC Rostov, with Blackburn and Reading interested. Stoke will listen to offers for winger Jermaine Pennant, 30, who is back from a loan at Wolves but has been frozen out by manager Tony Pulis for turning up late for a team meeeting last week. – Mail On Sunday