As much as we fans would like to think our club is the exception to the rule, there is a hierarchy in football. Through a combination of sporting success, financial clout and historical accomplishments, clubs are ranked relative to one another as smaller or bigger, and, given the opportunity, players will generally attempt to move up the ladder as their careers develop. Fans unanimously understand this process when their club is the one that picks off talent from others, and vehemently oppose the very universe that would allow such a thing to take place when they lose their favourites a few years later. Football fans are a delight.
Given their storied past and financial might, Liverpool reside somewhere near the top of this hierarchy. As a result, there is rarely much threat of the Reds losing their star players. The exception usually occurs when one of the Spanish giants take a liking to one of Liverpool’s South American or Central European stars. Thus, the fear that Philippe Coutinho — Brazilian, and Liverpool’s best player — would at some point draw the attention of Barcelona or Real Madrid has been ubiquitous ever since the unicorn pulled on a red shirt.
That time has come. And it turns out, there is nothing to fear.
This summer has been a disaster for the blaugranes thus far. Their attempts to sign Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti for €100M have failed. More than that, PSG have retaliated by seeking to sign Barcelona’s Neymar and are now prepared to trigger his €222M release clause following meetings with the player’s father. Josep Bartomeu has been using up the capital left to him by Pep Guardiola and Joan Laporta, and the club look in an increasingly precarious position with an unbalanced squad and wage structure following a disappointing season.
Barcelona are growing desperate. And now they have bid €80M for Philippe Coutinho. A laughable fee in the current market. A laughable fee given Barcelona failed to sign Verratti despite offering PSG a quarter more. One almost wonders what they’re smoking at Camp Nou. Liverpool have rejected the bid out of hand.
As first reported by the Daily Mail before being confirmed by Goal’s Melissa Reddy and The Times’ Paul Joyce, Barcelona have been told the player isn’t for sale. Not at €80M and not at any cost. That it’s too late in the summer for Liverpool to sell, even if Barcelona return with an offer less laughable in the current market, a market in which Kyle Walker has fetched £50M already and Romelu Lukaku has gone for £90M.
Liverpool’s best player will not be leaving the club this summer. Not even for Barcelona and not even for a world record sum. The club don’t need the money and the player is committed to the club at which he has built his reputation over the past 5 years.
Doesn’t that feel fantastic?