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Why Coutinho won’t be moving to Barcelona

Never believe what you read in the papers!

After another stellar campaign at Anfield, Liverpool’s superstar Philippe Coutinho has been linked with a move to Barcelona for an eye-watering £90m, potentially breaking the current world record transfer fee set by Paul Pogba on his return to Manchester United last summer. Reports have even surfaced that an agreement has been struck between Barcelona and the player, but fear not Liverpool fans, the move makes little sense and is unlikely to materialise into anything substantial.

Barcelona can’t afford him 

£90m is an absolutely obscene amount of money to spend on just one player and I personally don’t think Coutinho would be worth such a hefty outlay, no matter his brilliance. Barcelona were stalling on a new contract for Lionel Messi and that was because they were struggling to free up the funds, so signing another player for a massive fee with an inevitably six-figure wage packet makes little sense for a club having difficulty tying down their key players.

Moreover, one of the issues that has come to light over the course of the season is that Barcelona’s squad hasn’t been strong enough. If Real Madrid’s capture of La Liga has proven anything, it’s that depth is key, with Zinedine Zidane able to flit between his ‘A’ and ‘B’ side as of when. Barcelona, meanwhile, haven’t had the same level of depth as Madrid have, which is perhaps why they’ve struggled in La Liga, though it’s a testament to their first XI that they’re still in contention for the title with a game to play.

It means, though, that Barcelona need to invest in three, four, maybe five new squad members, depending on who leaves. If the club do have £90m to spend, it’ll likely be reinvested across the whole squad, rather than splashed on one player. A right-back is the key addition necessary, as well as a midfielder in the mould of Andres Iniesta, as the likes of Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes have been unable to fill the void. Potentially, too, a back-up for Luis Suarez, with an eye to replacing him in the future. Moreover, Luis Enqrique is leaving and the new manager will have his own ideas about personnel too, meaning a squad overhaul is likely.

Coutinho doesn’t fit 

Then there’s the bigger issue. Namely, Coutinho won’t actually fit into Barcelona. There’s absolutely no doubting the Brazilian’s ability, who took his Premier League tally to 12 goals and seven assists following the 4-0 victory at the London Stadium on the weekend, but Barcelona are fully stocked in his department. With Messi, Suarez and Neymar dominating their attack, there’s little room for Coutinho to play in the front three. Moreover, if he were to play in a deeper, freer role as he sometimes does for Jurgen Klopp, that means displacing Messi, who’s made that position his own this season.

He could theoretically play on the right side of the front three, the position vacated by Messi, but then there’s the issue of cost. The point to make is that there are too many potential roadbocks with this transfer that makes it unlikely to happen. Barcelona will struggle to finance it, whilst Coutinho won’t seamlessly fit into the starting XI. Is there any point in forking out £90m for what could effectively become a squad player?

Will Barcelona bid for Coutinho? Would he fit into their first team? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Oli Stein

Football Editor

Oli graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in History and has been RealSport's football editor since September 2016.

He's a Tottenham Hotspur fan first and objective football writer second!

Oli is also a defensive end for American football club the London Blitz, starting his career on the offensive line with his Bristol university team.

Why Coutinho won’t be moving to Barcelona

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