The manner in which Liverpool refused to sell Coutinho in the summer, but are apparently willing to bend over this winter, is confusing many.
One of those who doesn’t understand the transfer is Italian journalist Gabriele Marcotti, who said selling the Brazilian this month simply doesn’t make sense.
Firstly, Barcelona can’t use him in the Champions League and are already running away with La Liga anyway – and secondly – Liverpool would be crazy to significantly weaken the team at this point in the campaign.
“This move doesn’t make sense,” Marcotti told ESPN.
“You will have to pay a premium.
“It doesn’t make sense for Barca who won’t be able to use him in the Champions League.
“It doesn’t make sense for Liverpool, because without Coutinho, they will have a harder time making the top four.
“That lost revenue in the Champions League would offset whatever they gain from selling him now.”
Where Marcotti is wrong is that it doesn’t in fact look like Barca are going to pay a premium at all.
Melissa Reddy in Goal wrote yesterday that an initial £97m will be paid up front, eventually reaching £133m in add-ons.
For us, that’s well below market value. It’s around the same figure Barca paid for Ousmane Dembele, following a season at Borussia Dortmund in which he scored five goals.
It’s not even that much more than we paid for a Southampton defender, actually.
We’re being taken to the cleaners.