Spanish football expert Guillem Balague thinks Coutinho is proving himself good enough for a transfer to one of Barcelona or Real Madrid, but doesn’t think a blockbuster move will happen next summer.
That’s because he’s not ‘glamorous’ enough for Madrid (sorry..?) and doesn’t fit naturally into Barca’s 4-3-3 due to Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez up front.
Here’s what Balague wrote in his Sky Sports column:
“Last time I spoke about Coutinho a few months back, I thought he wasn’t ready for Barcelona or Real Madrid. I can now see that he is the most talented player at Liverpool, he’s performing regularly, and is scoring. Yes, he is getting to that level where either Barca or Real can come for him.
“He needs a bit more glamour for Real Madrid to have big, big interest. For Barcelona, they need to decide what to do with Arda Turan, and then they have to decide whether a player like Coutinho fits in that team.
“The problem with Coutinho as a No 10, he hasn’t got a place in a Barcelona 4-3-3. He has to play wide, or play deeper, but that isn’t his role, so it’s difficult to find a place for him.
“Let’s see who the manager is at Barcelona next season, or if Luis Enrique continues, but certainly he would be so expensive that I couldn’t see Barca coming in for him just yet. At the moment, neither of them are in the equation, but let’s see how things progress.”
First up, we’re struggling to see where Balague’s coming from in regards to his point on our playmaker lacking enough pizzazz for Real. He’s young, Brazilian, capable of magic and a scorer of jaw-dropping goals – how much more glamorous can you get? Also, we doubt that would matter to Zinedine Zidane, who has built a team around midfield hard-man Casemiro.
Still, if it puts Los Blancos off bidding, who are we to argue?!
In terms of Barca, there’s certainly doubts whether they could afford the 24-year-old right now, who’d command a world-record fee should a potential buyer want him. He also wouldn’t get in the side in his favoured position on the left of a front-three, which is currently occupied by Neymar, but that might not matter to Barca who could see him as Andres Iniesta’s natural heir.
All of this will hopefully be inconsequential and Jurgen Klopp will be able to convince Coutinho enough of Liverpool’s current project, of which the no.10 is our talisman.
The playmaker is happy with life on Merseyside and is contracted for the foreseeable future. Hopefully he’ll be given another improved deal to fend off interest. He’s worth it.