Liverpool have at last relented to Barcelona’s pursuits of Philippe Coutinho and have agreed to sell him to the Catalan giants for €120m (£105m) up front, with the overall fee potentially rising to €160m (£142m) based on add-ons. This transfer deal makes the Brazilian one of the most expensive football players of all time; only time will tell whether he will live up to this hefty price tag during his time at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona break the bank to sign Coutinho
When Neymar transferred to PSG last summer for a world record fee (€222m/£200m) last summer, the Nou Camp side went all out with their cheque book to replace the Brazilian superstar. They signed 20-year-old Ousmane Dembele for a staggering €105m (£97m), however after appearing in only 4 games he got sidelined with a serious injury, which is why Barcelona needed yet again another forward of high quality.
This transfer makes Coutinho the second most expensive football player of all time, with only his compatriot Neymar ahead on the list. According to online sportsbooks news, Coutinho expressed the standard feelings of a player that’s involved in such a high-profile transfer, saying he looks forward to winning titles with teammates that he considers to be real idols of the game.
“I am very happy,” said the 25-year-old on Barcelona’s official website. “I have always said I am living a dream, we are very happy to be here. To be able to play football, win titles, make the fans happy and play with a smile. These are the objectives.”
“It is incredible to know I will be around idols, with players who have such a great history like Leo, Luis, Iniesta, Pique, Busquets… all the great players. I am very happy to know I will be playing with them and I hope to be able to learn, live and win together.”
Background before the blockbuster transfer to the Nou Camp
Born in Brazil in 1992, Coutinho started off his playing career with Vasco da Gama in the second league, where he made 43 appearances and scored 5 goals over two seasons. In the summer of 2010 – at the age of 18 – he made a switch to the recently crowned European champions Inter Milan, however he would only play in 20 games before being sent on loan to Espanyol for a season where he managed to get to grips with European football.
Liverpool signed the young Brazilian – who was then still viewed as a potential prospect but far from the unfinished product – during the January transfer window in 2012/13 campaign. He went on to appear in 13 Premier League games which saw him score 3 goals in the process in the remainder of that season.
Although Coutinho managed to find the back of net on occasion, his primary duties were to feed the ball to the strikers ahead of him, mainly to Daniel Sturridge and former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez. That campaign (2013/14) the Reds were serious title contenders under then manager Brendan Rodgers, per online sportsbooks in UK and elsewhere.
But we think the attacking midfielder will play a more direct role at Barcelona, with Ernesto Valverde likely to deploy him on the left wing, which could potentially be a winning formula, as he’ll complement striker Luis Suarez – a player he enjoyed a great relationship with on the pitch while the pair played at Anfield. But we’re yet to see whether MSC (Messi, Suarez, Coutinho) will be more fruitful than the former setup of MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar).