According to Barcelona general manager Josep Segura, the Catalan giants are close to sealing a deal for Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho. This news comes despite the fact that Liverpool have stated the Brazilian is not for sale this summer.
Speculation about Coutinho’s future has been rife over the summer. Barcelona had consistently been linked with a move for Coutinho since last summer. The sale of Neymar to PSG for a world-record fee meant that the Catalan club now has the financial clout to bid big for Coutinho.
Liverpool have already reportedly rebuffed an offer of £90.4million for the playmaker. However, the Brazilian international has since handed in a transfer request. The Liverpool hierarchy have seemingly ignored the player’s request. It seems that situation may well change in the near future, with Coutinho now odds of 4/9 to join Barcelona this summer.
Close to signing Coutinho
Segura told Spanish television channel TV3: “We know that we have to strengthen the team and that’s what we will continue to do in the coming days,”
“We have to help the team. We’re close [to Coutinho and Dembele], we’re talking about the conditions but until everything is finalised, we can’t say anything else. We hope they will wear a Barca shirt.”
The statement seems like they are confident of agreeing deals for the two players. Losing Coutinho would be a blow for Liverpool, but it may not be the end of the world.
The Reds could strengthen in other positions
In the past, I have believed that the Reds losing Coutinho would be a disaster. For their rivals, that would be great news. However, since the start of the campaign Jurgen Klopp’s side have produced two decent performances without the Brazilian.
Their opening day performance, going forward at least, was a promising one. Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino worked perfectly well together. The trio have enough attacking abilities to cause any team problems.
If Liverpool sells Coutinho, then the Reds could sign players that would improve other positions in the team. The clubs owners do not seem to be willing to spend big without an influx of money from player sales.
I am sure that Jurgen Klopp knows that his team needs improvements in other areas. One of the team’s main concerns is in defence. As good as their attacking play was at Watford, the Reds defensive display was terrible, truly awful.
As entertaining to watch as it is as a neutral, Klopp must know that his team will achieve absolutely nothing with such poor defensive displays. A likely fee of over £100million may help solve some of the Reds problems.
The whole Virgil van Dijk saga has dragged on. Southampton says the Dutch centre-back is not for sale. However, the former Celtic star has handed in a transfer request and is training away from the first team.
Surely there is still a chance the Reds could still sign Van Dijk. Signing the centre-back would not cure all the Reds defensives ills, but it would surely make Klopp’s defence stronger.
It will be difficult for the Reds to sign a direct replacement for Coutinho. That is the main reason the Merseysiders need to strengthen the team in other areas. The problem with attempting to recruit a player at this stage of the transfer window is that quality players are hard to find. There is also the matter of the crazy fees paid of late for players.
Liverpool bigger than Coutinho
Liverpool are now in a similar position to Everton who sold Romelu Lukaku and Swansea who sold Gylfi Sigurdsson ironically to Everton, in the fact that they have sold their best players. In the Reds Merseyside rivals case, they have heavily reinvested the money in strengthening the team as a whole. However, Liverpool’s case is different because they have so many quality attacking players.
Philippe Coutinho on his day is a very good player. The Brazilian is heading into this campaign on the back of his most consistent campaign, despite injury problems.
In previous campaigns, though, he was woefully inconsistent. He was brilliant in some games, invisible in others. Coutinho has stated he wants to leave and that means the Reds will have an unhappy player on their hands if he stays.
It will not sit too well with Reds fans that he wants to leave, so forcing him to stay may not be the best move. No player is bigger than the club is and Liverpool may be better off selling the Brazilian and bringing in players that do want to pull on the red shirt.
Will Philippe Coutinho stay at Liverpool this summer?