According to Spanish publication Sport Barcelona have had a swap deal involving former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho rejected by Manchester City. Apparently they offered up the Brazilian (former?) playmaker plus cash in exchange for Ferran Torres.
Like most reported swap deals, this had very little chance of actually coming to fruition.
Of course, transfers are not always a zero-sum game. Sometimes a club really needs a player, and sometimes other clubs really need the money. However, in the case of Philippe Coutinho’s £142 million move from Liverpool to Barcelona in January 2018, there was one very clear winner (Liverpool) and one very clear loser (Barcelona).
Whereas some players are irreplaceable, others are apparently very replaceable, especially with £142 million for a world class recruitment team to spend. The Coutinho sale helped fund the additions of Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, and Alisson, three players that instantly improved Liverpool’s spine and balance, and made them a European powerhouse.
It’s fair to say Barcelona’s trajectory has been in the opposite direction, fueled largely by a poor recruitment strategy over recent years, of which the Coutinho transfer saga was merely a small part.
Barcelona are still trying to dig themselves out of these past mistakes, but it’s not easy to find any takers for Coutinho, especially on his high wages. He spent one season on loan to Bayern Munich in 2019/20, and no club has really shown an interest since.
Coutinho has struggled getting into the Barcelona side this campaign, which is damning on its own considering their current 7th placed standing in La Liga. He only has 4 starts, 2 goals, and 524 minutes in the league and Champions League campaign. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, by comparison, has 7 starts and 2 assists across 765 minutes in all competitions.
Like many Liverpool fans, I was gutted when the talented Brazilian midfielder turned his back on Jurgen Klopp’s project for “greener” pastures. Now I just feel sorry for him (less so for Barcelona and their predicament). He’s still only 29-years-old. Hopefully he can find another club where he can thrive once again.