Liverpool’s deadline day may have been a quiet, uneventful one, but at least one piece of good news leaked out late in the day for fans of the club. Philippe Coutinho, the creative 22-year-old who has excelled since arriving from Inter Milan two Januarys ago, was on the verge of signing a new deal that would keep him at the club until 2020. Today, on the verge has become officially signed.
"I’m really happy," was Coutinho’s response to having signed a new, extended deal. "It’s a dream come true playing for this great club and being part of this squad. Today I’ve committed my future to the club and for this I’m feeling very pleased. This club is great and the fans have always supported me, so I’ve been happy to sign this new deal since the conversations started. Today is a very happy day."
When Coutinho signed for a bargain £8.5M fee in January of 2013 his career seemed to have stalled. Unsuited for the style of Serie A, he had struggled to break through at Inter. A few early, impressive performances in Europe under Rafa Benitez had shown just how good he could be, as had a successful loan spell with Espanyol, but for the most part his time in Italy was spent watching from the sidelines.
It had left an unhappy player who felt his potential was being wasted and a club that was willing to sell, and for Liverpool, the gamble his game was better suited to England than Italy paid off. From the moment he arrived he seemed a natural fit for the more frantic Premier League, and for both player and club it has seemed a perfect fit, making his new deal a very positive if not especially surprising piece of news.
"It means so much," added Coutinho. "This club has given me the opportunity to play and believed in me even though I hadn’t been playing regularly at my previous club. I’ve had a great reception since my first day here. As I always say, Liverpool is a big family and I’m a happy person here."