Liverpool’s board were delighted when the club eventually sanctioned his £142million transfer to Barcelona in January 2018, according to a surprising report.
The Brazilian star tried to force through his exit to Barcelona for several months prior, before the Reds eventually decided to let Coutinho realise his dream, thus sanctioning the third most expensive transfer in football history.
Liverpool could have sold Coutinho the summer before for a fee of around £80million – but PSG’s capture of Nemar from Barcelona changed the face of the transfer market, which, according to Sport, allowed the Reds to get far more than they’d originally anticipated for the player.
The Spanish paper goes on to claim that Liverpool officials always knew they were fighting a losing battle to keep Coutinho on board, but worked the player and the market to their advantage brilliantly in order to secure the huge windfall; monies of which were later used to strengthen the spine of their side in the shape of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton and Alisson Becker, then of Roma.
Furthermore, Sport bizarrely claims that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, while publicly claiming he had no intention of selling the player, secretly knew the 26-year-old would struggle to fit into his style of play. While that seems a ridiculous suggestion given Liverpool’s goals from midfield have dipped significantly since Coutinho’s departure, what has been proved is the Brazilian’s struggles in LaLiga.
After initially appearing to adapt well to his new environment, Coutinho has seen his form dip dramatically this season to the point whereby he is now said to have green lighted a return to the Premier League – possibly with Manchester United.
However, it seems his chances of making an emotional return to Anfield look remote, with reports suggesting Klopp had instead decided on a bargain €26m Colombian star as best suited to add the ‘wow factor’ back into Liverpool’s midfield.
Barcelona have themselves insisted that Coutinho was bought with a long-term vision in mind, but Sport suggests in private the club now regrets the transfer.
One man, however, who is backing Coutinho to prove a success is Gerard Pique, who said over the weekend: “Obviously his cost was very high so that means there are more expectations of his performance level. It is what it is.
“We have to accept the reaction of the fans because they are our followers but from the inside, we have to give him our support.
“We need him at his best for the end of the season and I’m sure he will be.”
Coutinho is contracted to Barcelona until summer 2023, having signed a five-a-half-year deal upon joining the LaLiga giants last year.
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