Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho failed to rule out the possibility of leaving the Merseysiders this summer when recently asked of the alleged interest from perennial French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.
It seems clear he’s keeping his options open as his stock can’t be much higher, coupled with the deficiencies in the Liverpool squad likely to keep him waiting for silverware.
Is Coutinho too good for Liverpool?
The Brazilian recently scored a hat-trick for his country in their Copa America victory over Haiti, and is coming off the back of a good season at Anfield too. He swooped four club awards at the end of the campaign, while scoring and creating 13 goals in 24 Premier League starts. He’s a fan-favourite due to his outstanding trickery (82 attempted dribbles in the PL), but supporters might not have been happy that he didn’t deny wanting to leave.
“As far as I know, there’s no offer. I’m here with the national team, and this subject is for my representatives. More important for me is to be here, focused on the national team and having a good tournament. That’s where my head is at,” said Coutinho. The 23-year-old doesn’t want to lie to the Liverpool fans if he does want to leave, nor does he want to make him unavailable for other suitors.
Good enough for Barcelona?
Playing in the Brazilian national team is doing Liverpool no favours as he’s bonding with the likes of Dani Alves (former Barcelona defender) and Neymar (current Barcelona forward). Alves has already talked up Coutinho to become a start should he make the switch to the Nou Camp, but there’s no official interest from Barcelona as of yet.
Coutinho does have the skill-set for such a move, especially when considering the death of creative central midfielders Barcelona now have. They would love a goal threat in the midfield again after relying so hard on their trio of attackers (Neymar, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi), and Coutinho has shown enough moments in the Premier League to prove he could handle the step up.
Liverpool aren’t in a position where they need to sell, nor have they made any inclination that their best players will be allowed to depart without a fight. They would want considerable compensation (around £40M+) for the midfielder if he was to agree personal terms with a club, but if Coutinho expresses a desire to leave, they could have a complicated situation on their hands.
Liverpool’s failure in the last few seasons surely has the Brazilian doubting if he’s just better off elsewhere. They lost two finals in 2015/16 under manager Jurgen Klopp, finishing outside of the top-seven in the Premier League, and given the apparent interest in Coutinho, there’s little reason to stay considering how far he could go with a bigger club.