Liverpool have now rejected Barcelona’s third bid for Philippe Coutinho, thought to be worth up to a whopping £118m. Even by this summer’s crazy transfer fees, that’s quite some figure.
To put it into perspective, if you take the Neymar deal out of the equation, then that’s just under £30m more than the world record transfer fee that Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba. Last summer, you’d be laughed out of the room if you said in years’ time that Coutinho would move for nearly £120m!
So it begs the question – should Liverpool accept Barcelona’s advances and let the player move on, or hold their ground and keep one of their most prized assets?
In my opinion, Klopp and co. should be looking to take the astronomical amount of money on offer and look to reinvest it back into the squad. A lot has been said about how they don’t have enough time left now to strengthen properly, however I’d argue that they don’t particularly need to right now. Let’s remember we’re talking about a team that has a wealth of attacking midfield talent at their disposal here. Salah, Mane, Lallana, Firmino and Wijnaldum are more than capable attacking midfield options and have proven goal scoring ability in the Premier League.
Admittedly, none of them possess the same kind of ability to conjure something from nothing and turn a match on its head like Coutinho can, but Mane and Salah aren’t too far away. Plus, Coutinho has proven to be susceptible to injury over the years and has often blown hot or cold, looking incredible for 6 weeks then anonymous for the next 6.
Instead, Klopp should look to use the money to address other issues in his squad. Liverpool’s problem has never been scoring goals, with or without Coutinho in the team. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that defence is where most of their problems lie. Take £118m and buy a more reliable goalkeeper. Buy a centre back that’s a leader and can command the rest of the team. Buy a striker that can bring the kind of threat Suarez could or Sturridge could before he became a permanent fixture on the treatment table. Klopp could get a £40m player for each of those positions and have a much better team for it.
Another reason Liverpool should sell is that players are becoming more and more extreme in order to try and force through a move. Liverpool are running the danger that Coutinho could follow the same path as Diego Costa and Virgil van Dijk, where he refuses to play for the club until he’s sold. It’s a sad part of today’s game that footballers and agents wield so much power over clubs, but money talks volumes these days. If Coutinho refused to play, the longer the impasse between club and player went on, the lower his value would drop in the eyes of other teams. It absolutely makes financial sense for Liverpool to sell a player who has already stated that he doesn’t want to be there anymore.
Ultimately, it makes sense for all parties to come to an agreement and let Coutinho move on. After all, there’s no shame in selling a player to arguably the biggest club in world football for a transfer fee that’s the second highest in football history…
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