Philippe Coutinho wanted out of Liverpool. Badly. And he wasn’t about to wait until the summer of 2018 to get his dream move. Last summer, he tried handing in a transfer request, going on strike, and having his representatives smear Jürgen Klopp in the press in an effort to force through a move.
When Liverpool held firm despite that, most assumed he’d be at the club for at least the entire season—after all, even Luis Suarez stuck it out for an entire campaign after it became clear he was going to go—but as January rolled around, it became clear that wasn’t going to be the case.
Now, reports out of Spain that have since been picked up in the English press claim he was so desperate to move this month that he has paid €15M—or around £13M—out of his own pocket to get the deal done. More even, the fee paid by Coutinho is on top of the €160M fee Barcelona will pay for him.
This would bring the total Liverpool will receive, assuming all of the add-ons in the deal are triggered, to €175M, which is said to be what Liverpool consider the player’s full market value in January—which could mean that supplementary €15M is something of a January penalty.
Additionally, with Coutinho handing in a transfer request last summer, the club will not owe him a loyalty bonus when he completes his departure. The expectation in Spain, though, is that Barcelona and sponsors Nike will give him increase his wage and sponsorship to make up for it.
Even if Coutinho eventually makes up the €15M he’s paying Liverpool to push through a deal now, though, it shows just how desperate he is to leave his current club while they’re in the midst of a top four race and into the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
In return, he’ll get to go to Barcelona six months early, where he will play for a side that already all but wrapped up the league before he signed on and won’t be eligible to take part in the Champions League for them no matter how far they progress this year.