Philippe Coutinho out for three weeks after Barca medical reveals thigh problem

Philippe Coutinho out for three weeks after Barca medical reveals thigh problem

Update 11.48am: Philippe Coutinho presented with a thigh injury during a medical with his new club Barcelona, which the Spanish side says will keep him sidelined for around 20 days.

Coutinho was undergoing his routine medical tests with Barca on Monday morning as he put the finishing touches on his record-breaking move to the Nou Camp.

The Brazil international missed both of Liverpool's opening two games in 2018 with a thigh problem and Barca have confirmed he is now set to be sidelined for the rest of January.

A club statement read: "Coutinho has an injury to his right thigh and he is expected to be out for around three weeks."

Coutinho was due to sign a five-and-a-half-year contract with the Catalan giants following his medical before being officially presented this afternoon.

The switch will see Coutinho become the second most expensive footballer in history after Liverpool and Barca agreed a deal for the playmaker which could be worth up to £142million.

It is the biggest transfer fee involving a British club and is also the most Barca have ever paid for a player, eclipsing the £96.8million - rising to a possible £135.5million - they splashed out on Borussia Dortmund winger Ousmane Dembele last August.

Coutinho's compatriot Neymar is the world's costliest player following his £200.6million switch from Barca to Paris St Germain.

Barca have had to bide their time to secure Coutinho's services, having seen a £118million bid rejected by Liverpool in August after making him their number one target to replace Neymar.

Coutinho also handed in a transfer request at the time in an attempt to force a move, but was unsuccessful.

Barca maintained their interest in the former Inter Milan man, though, and on Saturday the clubs announced a deal had been struck.

If Coutinho, who spent six months on loan at Barca's city rivals Espanyol from Inter in 2012, is unavailable for the remainder of the month then he would miss at least four LaLiga and Copa del Rey games for his new employers.

Barca's first match of February is scheduled to be the derby against Espanyol.

Earlier: Philippe Coutinho living the dream as he prepares for Barcelona unveiling

Philippe Coutinho says the prospect of playing with the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez means his move to Barcelona is a dream come true ahead of his official unveiling.

The finishing touches have been put on his British record transfer from Liverpool, which could be worth up to £142million, and the Spanish club will parade him at the Nou Camp on Monday.

The 25-year-old Brazil international, who watched his new side's 3-0 win over Levante on Sunday, will perform a ceremonial signing of his contract at 1130GMT on Monday before a photo shoot on the pitch and a press conference.

Philippe Coutinho out for three weeks after Barca medical reveals thigh problem

He told Barca TV: "I'm very happy, very happy. I have always said that it is a dream that I am living and I am very happy to be here.

"To be able to play, win titles, make the fans happy... always play with joy.

"It is incredible to know that I am going to live with idols, players with a lot of history.

"Footballers like Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, (Andres) Iniesta, (Gerard) Pique, (Sergio) Busquets.

"I am very happy to be able to live together, to be able to learn from them and be able to win together."

Having earlier been presented at a photocall, Coutinho posted a short video message on the Barcelona Twitter feed.

"Hi Barca fans. I am already here, it is a dream come true, and I hope to see you tomorrow," Coutinho said.

Coutinho is joining a team that are nine points clear at the top of LaLiga and seemingly on the way to another title.

And boss Ernesto Valverde is confident Coutinho, who arrived at Liverpool from Inter Milan for £8.5million in January 2013, will prove a valuable addition to his star-studded squad.

"I think he can bring us a lot of things," Valverde said at a press conference after Sunday's game, as quoted by Spanish media outlet Marca.

"Coutinho scores goals, assists, he can play both inside (down the centre) and outside (on the flanks).

"I have seen him play in many positions both for Liverpool and in his national team.

"After taking a long break, he is already with us, we hope he will help us and we will wait to see him train for at least one day to assess his condition."

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