As if Liverpool needed reminding as to Philippe Coutinho’s importance to the squad, we were all reminded when the diminutive Brazilian picked up a knock early against Watford. Although Adam Lallana managed to come on and put in a good shift, the Reds were lacking up front, and the game likely would have ended in a disappointing draw were it not for Emre Can’s wondergoal.
Coutinho’s injury is apparently not as bad as originally feared, and he will likely play a vital role in the final push for one of the last two remaining Champions League spots. And as evidenced by his two contract extensions in as many years, Liverpool clearly feel that this player is vital to their long-term prospects.
Barcelona, on the other hand, reportedly think he’d fit right in at the Nou Camp. This bit of rumor mongering, which has been going on for at least two years at this point, is nothing revolutionary at this point.
The latest twist, as reported by Spanish publication Sport, is that Barcelona have been in contact with Coutinho’s agent. The report goes on to say that the Catalan giants are willing to pay the Brazilian in the same wage bracket as Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, and Gerard Pique. Further, they’d be willing to pay a transfer fee similar to the £65 million they paid for Luis Suarez.
Unless there is a release clause we’re unaware of in Coutinho’s new contract, it seems unlikely that Liverpool would be willing to part with him for even that sizable fee. Coutinho is under contract at the Merseyside club until 2022, at which point he’ll be 30 years old. (Side note: I’ve tried very hard to imagine young Phil at 30, and simply cannot).
So, this transfer still seems highly unlikely, but here we are again. I’m sure we’ll be back with the next Coutinho to Barca transfer bullshit in a week or two, tops.