A return to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho just won’t go away. Every Spanish and English media outlet is continually linking the attacking midfielder to a sensational return to Anfield.
Today, reports indicate Coutinho could return to Liverpool on a two-year loan deal with an £88 million permanent transfer purchase to be made by the Reds at the end of the loan period. Antonine Griezmann’s addition to Barcelona this summer has made Coutinho surplus to requirements, although he could still be important during the season at Camp Nou if he stays.
Barcelona are hungry to bring back Neymar to Camp Nou and shedding themselves of Coutinho would allow them to bring in the Paris Saint-Germain star. Without moving players on the financial restraints would be great for the Spanish giants.
The problem with Coutinho continually being linked with Liverpool is he no longer fits into Jurgen Klopp’s team. Coutinho doesn’t fit into the front three and his work-rate doesn’t improve Liverpool’s midfield.
Add in Coutinho’s penchant to shoot from long range, a sure-fire way to waste possession, and the Brazilian a transfer for Coutinho doesn’t work.
The 2018-19 season was Coutinho’s first in which he didn’t meet or excel his expected goals or assists pre-2014. Coutinho’s expected goals last season were 7.84, but he only tallied five for Barcelona. His assist total of two didn’t meet his expected assists total of 4.12. He would have far more competition for a place at Anfield than he does at Barcelona.
Would he get into the team regularly?
Yes, there are reasons for his numbers being down, including playing in a team with Lionel Messi, which prevents Coutinho from being the main creator.
Regardless of his down numbers last term, Coutinho just doesn’t fit into Liverpool’s team currently. Although bringing him back would offer a nostalgia factor, the Reds would be better off adding a back-up left-back or possibly another high work-rate attacker. Barcelona’s attackers such as Coutinho or Ousmane Dembele do not offer high work-rates to Liverpool.
Thanks to Liverpool winning their sixth Champions League in June against Tottenham Hotspur, football agents from around the globe are linking their clients to the Anfielders to gain negotiation leverage.
Links to Liverpool could be smoke and mirrors. Barcelona merely want to offload Coutinho to re-purchase Neymar and linking him to Liverpool piques other clubs’ possible transfer interest. Regardless of Barcelona’s motives, Liverpool should stay away from the attacking midfielder and look elsewhere to add to the squad.
If a deal does go through for Coutinho, Liverpool would receive his services on a two-year loan deal. It could be a no lose situation, especially with transfer prices increasing.
A set £88m price tag would keep his price from going up, but it would also keep it from going down. Coutinho would be 29-years old by the time the permanent transfer went through and possibly a shell of the player he used to be.
It feels like re-signing him would be a gamble. Of course, all transfers are gambles.