Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain already this summer, but for most Liverpool fans the worry isn’t PSG. The worry is what happens if Barcelona come calling, a rumour that first appeared last summer and that some of the French reports of PSG interest claim they just might happen over the next month or two.
Despite that, many Liverpool fans remain skeptical. Coutinho is one of the club’s best players, maybe even its best, but at only 23 years of age he can struggle with consistency and shot selection, and the general consensus is that he isn’t ready just yet to start for a club like Barcelona. Still, his talent is clear. And Liverpool have a lost a few star players in recent seasons. So just how worried should Liverpool fans be?
"I love Coutinho, but for Liverpool," said Grup 14’s Diana Kristinne when asked about the possibility of Coutinho making the switch to the Camp Nou this summer. "I don’t think he’s consistent enough for Barça, plus he wouldn’t really fit in the system. So I think this is all just press speculation and won’t actually become a thing. Maybe in two years, but that’s a lot of speculation given how football works."
In a year or two, if Coutinho continues to develop and Liverpool continue to struggle, it’s easy to imagine the player wanting out—and it’s equally easy to imagine him being good enough at that point to start for Barcelona. In the end, though, it comes back to the consistency issue and that Barcelona are a team that can afford to look for and whose fans demand consistent world class talent in the transfer market.
"It is hard to figure out Coutinho's future," said Barca Blaugranes’ Renato Goncalves, trying to predict when Coutinho might begin to tempt the Spanish giants. "At times, he looks like the best player ever; other times, even in the same game, he is completely useless. But something is clear: Philippe is still developing. He's better at the end of every season, and a different part of his game is improved from the year before.
"But how long before Coutinho develops into the player we expect? That's what separates him from a move to Barcelona. Luis Suárez always wanted to play at Barça, but it took him a few monster seasons before the move was inevitable. Coutinho will be a Barça-level player, no question. It's going to take some time, though. Is he capable of a few monster seasons? Absolutely, but until that happens the Barça rumours are just rumours."
Just rumours, then. At least for now. And at least until Coutinho becomes more consistent. The talent, clearly, is there for him to make an impact at a club like Barcelona, but he would need to show the kind of quality and consistency Suarez did in his final year at Anfield to earn their interest. For Liverpool fans, then, for this summer, it probably isn’t time to worry just yet.