It’s funny how football has a way of working itself out.
Liverpool’s purchase of Coutinho in January 2013 for a little over £8.5m is considered one of the best bargains in modern Premier League history, considering he’s now worth ten times that figure.
The Brazilian has emerged as our talisman following Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez exiting the club, but it might have been much different if Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston had picked up the phone in December 2012…
According to the Telegraph, we sounded out the Championship side for our former Academy winger Tom Ince originally, lodging a £5m offer – but Oyston refused to answer the phone or engage in discussions.
After that rejection, we considered Partizan Belgrade’s Lazar Markovic, who we later bought from Benfica. Sadly, the Serbian proved a waste of £20m, but we couldn’t acquire him at the time either.
Having heard that Maurcio Pochettino was desperate to sign Coutinho for Southampton (having managed him on-loan at Espanyol), Liverpool turned our attention to the Brazilian – who our scouts had recently heard would be available due to Inter’s financial problems.
Brendan Rodgers loved the idea and scout reports from the likes of Barry Hunter, Fernando Troiani and newly appointed Director of Football Michael Edwards were glowing.
We got the deal done that January in 2013, along with signing Daniel Sturridge – but you have to wonder if we’d have gone in for Coutinho at all had Ince signed…
In fairness, if Southampton had bought Coutinho, he’d have only have ended up at Liverpool eventually anyway!