Here we go again.
Philippe Coutinho rumors are swirling once more as the Brazilian is reported to want a move to Barcelona. Amid claims he’s house hunting here and Nike advertisements that seem to be predicting the future, most fans want two things. One, they want to see Liverpool’s #10 in blaugrana. And two, they just want answers.
But is Coutinho worth the price tag they’ll inevitably slap on him?
Unfortunately, no answers here. The rumors will persist until he’s sold or the transfer window closes. Once it does, if he remains in the Premier League, there’ll probably be rumors during the summer.
The latest figures thrown about were €140 million + variables, which is a lot of money. While that number is economically feasible for a club like FC Barcelona, especially if they can pull off the sales of Arda Turan and Javier Mascherano, that’s a lot of money. Also remember that Ousmane Dembélé, the most expensive signing in the club’s history, was recently signed for over €100 million.
Is Coutinho worth it? Let’s take a look.
Coutinho doesn’t really have any equivalents in this current Barça side. What I mean by that is no midfielder we have plays the style he does.
Iniesta is a great passer and has great control of the ball, but he isn’t as young or athletic as Coutinho, so he can’t make runs like he does. Rakitic is stout defensively and a good organizer, but his touch on the ball and passing isn’t as good as Coutinho’s. Busquets is a good defensive midfielder, and his timing and accuracy on passes are right up there with Iniesta’s. Paulinho is agressive offensively and is very physical, but Coutinho is much more skilled than his national team mate. Finally, Sergi Roberto is more of a right back (again) and he hasn’t featured in midfield much (even though he should).
Coutinho is fast. He has pace with the ball at his feet, and his skill allows him to get away from defenders. His passing, while not as good as Iniesta’s or Busquets’, is pretty great and is better than Rakitic’s or Paulinho’s for sure. Sergi Roberto has shown the ability to launch a run past defenders, but Coutinho has more pace than him.
Of course, I’m not giving a complete comparison here. I’m just highlighting areas in which Coutinho differs from our current players. He has good qualities, maybe some we don’t have now, but no player is perfect.
That pace of his means he can sometimes try to do too much and be dispossessed. He needs some more composure and discipline. Defensively, he isn’t asked to do much, and I don’t think he’ll be asked to play stellar defense for Barcelona either.
Coutinho played forward until he was 12, and for good reason. He’s a good finisher and he seems to have an eye for goal or a timely assist. He was prolific for Liverpool last season, finishing with 18 goals and 10 assists for both the Reds and Brazil (2016/17 season). He’s a good free-kick taker, as well.
Plus, he’s already played in La Liga, and in Catalunya as well, suiting up for Mauricio Pochettino’s Espanyol for a year in 2012.
Coutinho would make a difference on this team, and I’m simplifying these comparisons to Barça’s current midfield. If they were to sign him, he would come in and instantly be one of the best players on the team. It’d be nice to have someone other than Messi that can complete a dribble, lay off a pass or shoot, and create for themselves consistently. Not comparing him to Lionel Messi, but right now he’s the only one who can do that. Signing Coutinho would change that.
So, is he worth it? I’m of the opinion that no single player is worth that amount of money, but in the current market, it seems inevitable. If they can lower the asking price, great! Sign him. If not, I’d still go ahead and do it. The majority of the fanbase seems to agree with me.
But unfortunately, all we have so far are rumors. And maybe that’ll be all we’re left with.