To say that it’s been an interesting summer for Philippe Coutinho is a bit of an understatement. Long regarded as a player likely to “do things the right way” when the time came to part ways with Liverpool (a departure that was never really in doubt), Coutinho stunned supporters when he submitted a transfer request on the eve of the new season’s commencement.
What was real and what was disinformation in the weeks that followed may never be completely cleared up for the general public. As it stands, Coutinho will be a Liverpool player, at least until January, at which point Barcelona could try once more to convince Fenway Sports Group to allow the Brazilian midfielder to leave. If they do, Barcelona will have to do a lot better than what they’ve served up so far.
Liverpool’s ownership and management are clearly quite irritated with how Barcelona have gone about their business. Now, according to reports in Spain, we can add Philippe Coutinho to the long list of people who are unhappy with the Catalan giants - a fact which, if true, could complicate any plans to bring Liverpool’s No. 10 to the Camp Nou, whether in January, next summer, or beyond.
Don Balon has suggested that Coutinho - who had been described as “heartbroken” but was also all smiles next to Alberto Moreno during training - is now upset with Barcelona for not completely backing up their end of the bargain during the summer. That bargain would consist of Coutinho publicly pushing for the move, while Barcelona put together a respectable bid (presumably with the Neymar money) to tempt Fenway Sports Group.
Coutinho certainly stuck his neck out in a very visible way with his transfer request, and it remains to be seen whether his relationship with the Anfield faithful can ever be truly repaired. Barcelona, despite formally submitting bids and making all sorts of angry noises in the press, never really put an offer together that tested FSG’s resolve. While some astronomical sums were bandied about informally, the substantive offers were so back-loaded with escalators as to be laughable.
While this could certainly be more pot-stirring by the Spanish press, Coutinho would not be unjustified in being annoyed with Barcelona. Aside from the head-scratching way in which they conducted their business with Liverpool, the Catalan club also put out feelers for a number of purported Coutinho alternatives over the summer (and managed to tick off those other clubs along the way).
That is in stark contrast to how Liverpool have managed their pursuit of Virgil van Dijk (at least following the initial fiasco), which has been characterized by something akin to tunnel-vision. The truth of the situation is irrelevant for now, but will likely come to the forefront again in January, when Barcelona will be free once again to resume their chase.