The Barcelona based newspaper Mundo Deportivo has claimed that the Catalan club has reached an agreement with Philippe Coutinho about his prospective move to Camp Nou and now tries to persuade Liverpool FC to sell him.
Despite the firm statement that Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool FC made that Coutinho is a center for the club’s plans to progress and win silverware, Barcelona kept pushing for Coutinho’s transfer. The Catalans tried to create a media buzz by using the Catalan radio RAC1 to file transfer speculations. RAC1 has simply suggested that Philipe Coutinho has been approached by Barcelona officials and that they have somehow managed to persuade him to join them.
Based on this unconfirmed story, the Catalans are now using the tabloid press, including the British papers, to create a media environment that would work in their favour. Approaching a player who has a contract with another club is something strictly prohibited by the national federations and by UEFA. Still clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and other big clubs keep making contacts with certain players without asking permission from their employers. Liverpool themselves have been accused by Southampton of illegal approach and the Saint reported the Reds to the Premier League.
Barcelona in a downrun?
It is not the first time when Barcelona have played a dirty game with Liverpool players. They did that with unsettled Luis Suarez in 2014. The Uruguayan striker had issues with the English tabloids and with his own misconducts, and he wanted to move to Spain for family reasons. It wasn’t hard for Barcelona to deal with Luis Suarez transfer 3 years ago and to press on Liverpool to sell their best player, at the time.
However, now it is very different for the Catalan club. Barcelona need to find a solution on how to keep playing at a top level, while revamping their squad. The club needs to find replacements for a whole generation of players, starting with Andres Iniesta. Despite having Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, Barca are already in decline. Last season they were unable to put stable defensive performances and lost the race for the La Liga title to Real Madrid.
In the Champions league Barcelona have been humiliated by Juventus and were kicked out of the tournament. In contrast, their main La Liga rivals Real Madrid have been at their best and went pass Juventus to win the Champions League.
Now Barcelona face a major issue – how to keep Neymar at Camp Nou. The whole drama around Neymar and his possible transfer to Paris Saint-Germain has totally overshadowed the Barcelona’s America summer tour and everyone is speaking about the Brazilian leaving the club, not about Barca winning trophies. The Catalans are now paying the prize for over-idolizing Lionel Messi and for building a team around the Argentinian.
Messi might be one of the best football players of all times if not the best one. Still, his undisputed leadership in Barcelona creates specific environment inside and around the club, which players like Neymar obviously disagree with. Being restricted to a second or a third place, as Neymar is in Barcelona is not something that a player of his calibre would appreciate.
Neymar is a 25-year-old and he has already won whatever he could with Barcelona. However, any successful spell at PSG or any other club which would result in a new Champions League trophy for him and in a Ballon d’Or win, would make Neymar a true legend. It is not something that Barcelona can offer him.
“In Paris, if he doesn’t win the Champions League he won’t get the recognition he will deserve. That’s his only option in Paris, because, with all due respect, it’s an inferior league. He still has doubts, but we’re trying to convince him to stay”, this is what Gerard Pique told the press and confirmed that Neymar is currently under huge pressure to change his ming and to stay at Barcelona.
The Catalan club know very well that they are in a weak position over the Neymar’s possible transfer to PSG and they would become a selling club. Therefore, they do all they can to prevent Neymar to leave. They are also desperate to bring another big name in the like of Phillipe Coutinho, to Cam Nou.
Jurgen Klopp – the best manager to help Coutinho progress!
Asked about does Coutinho has a fixed position at Liverpool, Klopp responded “He is not fixed and he should not be fixed”. The German explained that Wijnaldum and Henderson haven’t played together in the Liverpool’s recent game against Leicester in Hong King, because “we have these two players for the No 6 at the moment”.
“It makes for us the most sense like this and Phil can play every day in about five positions – in all these different systems. It’s cool. You have to do the right thing at the right moment”, explained Klopp how he sees Philippe Coutinho’s game.
It looks like the German manager has found the right balance for his team. He would not sacrifice any of his players for Coutinho or anyone else, but at the same time he acknowledges the importance of Coutinho for the team and wants to play him in the best possible position, based on the opponent and the game plan.
Philippe Coutinho – much smarter than most other players of his calibre?
Coutinho knows very well that if he moves to Barcelona, it is very likely that he would win La Liga and hopefully the Champions League. However, with Real Madrid at the top a the moment, it is also very likely that the Catalans might not be able to win any major domestic trophy within the next few years. Even if Neymar stays at Camp Nou, it is very likely that Barca would stay second to Real in Spain.
In the Champions League, the Catalans would have even less chances to win a trophy, as there is growing competition from clubs like Bayern Munich, Juventus, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain. Milan has also been preparing themselves to return at the top. It was actually the Paris club that almost kicked out Barce of the last year’s Champions League and only a controversial penalty given to the Catalans, helped them to go pass the French club.
It looks that Philippe Coutinho knows very well where he stands and what he could achieve with Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp. Reads a club in progress at the moment, while Barcelona, one of the greatest football clubs, looks to be in decline.
“Stay here and they will end up building a statue in your honour”
Coutinho has been very clear earlier this year, when he said that he is not looking to leave Liverpool FC any time soon. “Stay here and they will end up building a statue in your honour. Go somewhere else, to Barcelona, to Bayern Munich, to Real Madrid, and you will be just another player. Here you can be something more”, the Brazilian told ESPN.
“I have a long contract with Liverpool. Speculation is for journalists only. We started the season very well, I started well. But then in the middle the performance regressed. Then we bounced back, I finished the season at a high level. The whole team is playing well, today was a very important victory, next season it’s the Champions League”, explained the Little Magician, as Liverpool fans call him.
Coutinho looks like he knows what he is doing? He looks confident and he is obviously smarter than most players would do anything to sign for Barcelona or Real Madrid. so, it is up to Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp to finish the transfer business this summer in a way that Liverpool would win a trophy next season.
It is likely that Barcelona would fail on keeping Neymar and bringing Philippe Coutinho to Camp Nou. Besides football, there other things, which would decide against the Coutinho’s move to the Catalan club. It is called “Politics”. Catalonia has been insisting to hold a referendum for independence, which is not recognized by the Spanish government. Should Catalans organize a vote, it is very likely that the Spanish state would start prosecuting and arresting prominent local public figures.
Right or wrong about their political demands, the Catalans use FC Barcelona as public weapon in their fight for statehood. Therefore, any issues that the Spanish province might have with Spanish state, would reflect on Barcelona. If Catalans loose the referendum battle, all local institutions and organizations, including Barcelona FC would be weakened. If they somehow manage to win and go for independence, this would be even worse for the football club. Barca would face an uncertain future as a Catalan independence would very likely prevent them from playing in La Liga.