Liverpool released a statement on Friday morning insisting Coutinho will not be sold this summer, but just hours later, Coutinho handed in a transfer request. Spanish Football expert Guillem Balague believes Philippe Coutinho’s desire to move to Barcelona has pushed him to clash with Liverpool even though he “tried his best” not to reach this situation.
According to Balague, Coutinho has made his mind up, making his stay in Liverpool very difficult indeed.
“After Neymar went, and not before, Barcelona identified Philippe Coutinho as a replacement. They reached a personal agreement with his agent. Since then, for the last two to three weeks, Coutinho has tried to make Liverpool understand that his dream is to play for Barcelona. He has been a Barcelona fan for a while, has become really good friends with Luis Suarez and he wants to move to the Camp Nou.
Barcelona have recently been linked to both Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele. However you do wonder if they can actually afford both players as they had initially hoped. Coutinho has behaved very well, professionally, which is something the club have actually admitted.
But clearly something happened today that pushed him over the edge – could it have been the final rejection? Had he thought a 3rd and higher offer may have been accepted by Liverpool? Surely the announcement was the final nail on the coffin which sent him over the edge? Had their not have been an announcement would the club have received the transfer request?
“Coutinho is a nice guy, everyone who works with him knows that, but he has got in his mind that he wants to be a Barcelona player this summer and the disappointment of the Liverpool stand was so big that he reacted to it in the strongest way possible allowed to a player. He now “would do whatever it takes” to make the move possible, according to the same sources.
For Liverpool and in particular Klopp, it is not just has a football issue but also a matter of pride. Naturally Klopp wanted to show his authority by keeping the player, worried that selling Coutinho would show a sign of weakness.
The obvious question would be who would come in to replace Coutinho. It is very close to the start of the season, any new player would have missed pre-season so wouldn’t fit in straight away. Naby Keita was a logical choice, however RB Leipzig have made it very clear where they stand.
What do Liverpool do? They are in an incredibly difficult position. Losing a massively important team player is not what they want. A transfer request doesn’t force anyone to do anything, but it is difficult to see how Liverpool can manage to change Coutinho’s mind.