Liverpool have completed the signing of Brazil international attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan in a deal believed to be worth £8.5 million, ESPN understands.
Coutinho, 20, is Brendan Rodgers’ second signing in the winter transfer window, with Daniel Sturridge having already arrived — with a bang may I add — from Chelsea.
The 20-year-old is a highly-rated prospect, but failed to receive consistent playing time under Inter Milan boss Andrea Stramaccioni this season despite an impressive loan spell at Espanyol last term.
Coutinho — who netted two goals in 12 appearances in all competitions for Inter Milan this season – is thrilled with the move, and rightfully so.
“I’m feeling very happy, it’s a very important step in my career and I’m expecting to come here and play good football to give my contribution on the pitch,” Coutinho told the club’s official website.
“Liverpool is a great club with great players. We’ve always heard about Liverpool’s history in Brazil. They are the club that have been interested in me and that have showed this interest so I know they believe in me and my football.”
Liverpool supporters might be upset with their current position, seventh-place, in the English Premier League table, but the Reds are undoubtedly a club on the rise, with the future ever-so bright at Anfield.
Youngsters such as Andre Wisdom, Raheem Sterling, Sebastián Coates, Samed Yesil and Suso have all contributed to the Reds’ 2012-13 campaign in one way or another.
Now then, can Liverpool challenge for a place in the top four following the arrivals of Coutinho and Sturridge in January?
I think they certainly can contend, but Spurs — who have brought in Lewis Holtby from FC Schalke 04– look pretty strong at the moment, and the other club from North London, Arsenal, are always going to be right there.
“We’re always delighted when we get the players we go after,” added Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre.
“It has been a successful transfer window for us, coming off the back of acquiring Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea and now Philippe from Inter Milan. I think that bodes well for us for the rest of the season and the future.”
Balotelli set to join AC Milan
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is on the verge of completing a move to Serie A giants AC Milan, with the Italy international expected to put pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year deal at the San Siro prior to Thursday’s transfer deadline, according to Sky Sports.
Balotelli, 22, has struggled to rediscover his goal-scoring touch since Euro 2012, netting just three goals in 21 appearances in all competitions for the Premier League champions this season.
The 22-year-old — formerly of Inter Milan — has been a Rossoneri supporter since he was a boy.
In March 2010, he appeared on the Italian comedy show Striscia La Notizia and wore a Milan jersey with his name emblazoned on the back. He was an Inter Milan player at the time.
“I ran to Milan,” Balotelli told the Milan Channel.
“I had wanted to play here for a long time. The start of this season was negative, but with this jersey I will do better.
“I made some important choices, so I hope they can bring good luck to me and the team. I just want the fans to love me.”
Balotelli will be joining a strike-force that already consists of Italian ace Stephan El Shaarawy, Giampaolo Pazzini, Bojan Krkic and Robinho.