Coutinho transfer rumours have gathered pace as the transfer window has progressed. Barcelona have been strongly linked since the sale of Neymar and see Coutinho as a replacement of sorts. A deal involving Coutinho would potentially be the biggest transfer deal in history involving an English club. Liverpool are said to have rejected several offers already for the Brazilian but will they continue to stand firm in the face of such strong interest from a club like Barcelona?
We look at what’s going to happen with Couthinho…
Nationality: 29 caps 8 goals
Position: attacking midfielder, left or centre
Reported Transfer Fee: £130mil
2016/17 League Stats: 28 starts (3 sub appearances) 13 goals (7 assists)
Liverpool’s efforts to hold on to Coutinho have been commendable and they look to be one of the clubs taking the lead in trying to rebalance the power between clubs and players. In recent years it has felt like all the power has rested with players and their agents.
A stronger approach has been seen by many clubs this window, refusing to bow down to player demands. Player’s contracts seem to have more value as a result. The TV deal and amount of money every club has now, in the Premiership, has probably been a factor as there aren’t the same financial pressures to sell.
However in respect to Coutinho, if reports are to be believed, Liverpool’s stance does look to be softening in the face of extreme pressure from Barcelona, which is understandable. When Barcelona comes calling very few clubs or players can resist. Up to now Liverpool have rejected several significant offers but Barcelona are expected to come back with an improved offer to test Liverpool again.
Despite Liverpool’s efforts, as soon as Coutinho handed in his transfer request (via email…yep, email) a move to Barcelona felt inevitable. The Brazilian clearly has his heart set on a move. There’s no certainties that Barcelona will come calling again.
The sensible thing maybe for Liverpool to sell too. Coutinho was clearly their best player last season but the likelihood of an unhappy player performing to their full capabilities isn’t great. Even if Liverpool are in no need of the money, £130mil+ is still a substantial amount. Coutinho won’t be worth that much if his form suffers.
Any club would feel the lost of a player like Coutinho but in Mohammed Salah Liverpool look to signed one of the bargains of the transfer window. It may sound strange to say about a £34mil signing but in comparison to some of the other transfer fees it looks like great value. The pace in Liverpool’s attack looks unmatched in England with Mane also, who himself looks like he can take his game on another level and is showing signs he can be Liverpool’s main attacking threat. With Firmino also impressing most of the time and Sturridge on the bench, the Liverpool attack still looks like one of the best in the league. Second only behind Man City in my opinion.
Liverpool look like they could cope with Coutinho’s departure which is a huge compliment to the quality of the rest of the attack. The only issue maybe depth as they also have the demands of European football this season. One or two injuries and they may have problems.
If Coutinho does leave, Liverpool will have also made a massive profit on a player they only paid Inter Milan £8.5mil for, nearly 5 years ago. They will have an incredible amount of money, even for this current transfer market, to reinvest in the playing squad. Given the speed in which the deadline is fast approaching however it would make even more sense to get things wrapped up as soon as possible so the recruitment department will know for certain how much money they have to play with and get a replacement lined up. Presumably Liverpool would want a replacement. Although it’s probably worth noting a deal of this size is going to be complicated.
In terms of Coutinho and Barcelona it’s difficult to see how and where he will fit in given Ousmane Dembele’s imminent move, if the Brazilian moves as well. You can’t see either £100mil+ man sitting on the bench. So for me it depends on how adaptable Barcelona will be tactically. Will they move away from their famous 4-3-3 formation?
4-2-3-1 would surely be the most obvious choice given the personnel. Dembele prefers the right-side of an attacking three whilst Coutinho the left. That leaves Messi, who lets face it can pretty much play anywhere but shouldn’t have any trouble in a more central role, moving away from his usually favoured right-hand side. That would certainly give both new arrivals opportunity to flourish in positions they’re most accustomed to. Would Barcelona dare to move Messi though? Probably not…
If Coutinho is seen more as a deeper option and potentially a replacement of sorts for Iniesta then despite his quality he may struggle to adapt. I’m not convinced they will get the best out of him from a deeper position. Initially it’s also hard to see him dislodge Iniesta or Rakitic who are established performers. It could be a difficult bedding in period for Coutinho, if Barca retain their 4-3-3 formation.
Whilst La Liga is a more technical league than the Premiership and Barcelona are famous for their possession-based style, it remains to be seen if Coutinho could cope with the physicality of centre midfield. He might benefit the same way Iniesta and Xavi did however from the strangle-hold the team has on the ball to avoid such battles. It could be a possible weakness better teams in Europe can exploit though…
It’s hard to see Barca not getting what they want, they usually do. Liverpool’s resolve has been impressive but surely they can’t continue to hold out… Coutinho clearly wants to leave. The sensible thing is to sell, everyone benefits.
A deal is surely only a matter of time…
Should Liverpool sell Coutinho? How will he do in Spain? Lets hear what you have to say in the comment section below.