Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho is a wanted man these days. After a host of terrific performances last season, the playmaker has attracted the interest of a number of clubs with Paris St.Germain reportedly keen on strengthening their midfield with the Brazilian’s signing.
Philippe Coutinho has been in good nick for Brazil in the Copa America following up a decent display against Ecuador with a superb hat-trick in a 7-1 demolition of Haiti. His performances have only intensified interest from various clubs looking to lure him away from Anfield. Liverpool recently rejected a bid made by Paris St. Germain to bring the Brazilian to the Parc Des Princes, stating they have no intentions of selling their star player this summer.
When questioned about the French champions’ interest in him, Coutinho claimed he was unaware of any talks negotiating his switch to France and said his focus was on Brazil’s progress in the Copa America. The midfielder was quoted as saying, “As far as I know, there’s no offer. I’m here with the national team, this subject is for my representatives.”
“More important for me is to be here, focused on the national team and having a good tournament. That’s where my head is.”
The 23-year-old has a contract that ties him down to the club up until 2020 and after signing the extension last season, the Brazilian expressed his intention to stay at Merseyside and that he was 100% committed to the Reds cause.
However since then, Coutinho has recently voiced his desire to play Champions’ League football and win trophies having not won a single piece of silverware at the club since arriving in 2013 from Inter Milan. Liverpool did come close to satisfying their star player’s trophy ambitions twice last season finishing runners-up in both the League Cup final and Europa League final.
Coming at the back of his best season in terms of goals scored, Coutinho’s well decorated Brazilian team-mates Dani Alves and Felipe Luis have urged the youngster to move to a bigger club this summer.
With Barcelona also watching over the midfielder’s performance in the Copa America, Liverpool will have a major task on their hands this summer trying to keep their man at Anfield. The Merseysiders will want to avoid the departure of another key player in the transfer window having lost Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling in the past few seasons.
Should Coutinho consider a move away from Anfield?
Along with Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho was among the most inspired signings made by Brendan Rodgers in his three-year tenure at Anfield. Prior to his Liverpool move, at Inter Milan Coutinho had little match-time to develop himself through and a loan move to Espanyol where he managed 16 appearances through the course of the season, did little to address his concerns.
It was hence no surprise that the midfielder forced a move to Anfield in January 2013 in a deal worth £8.5 million. It was a move that worked wonders for the Brazilian who with more first-team appearances improved significantly over the course of his three years at the club.
Coutinho’s form is performance driven which in turn is directly proportional to the amount of match time he gets. A move to the big guns like Barcelona and PSG with trophies and European football on offer may be tempting, however is he guaranteed a starting spot in these sides? The Brazilian isn’t yet the finished product that probably someone like a Luis Suarez was at the time he left for Barcelona.
Consistency is still a concern with Coutinho, who on his day is a game-changer, while on others isn’t as influential as he is capable of. A case in point would be the Europa League final where the Reds lost 3-1 to Sevilla to hand the Andalusians their third consecutive crown.
Coutinho’s performance on the night, where the Champions’ League football he desired was at stake, was mediocre to say the least. And it was disappointing to see the Brazilian turn up with that performance on a night when his side needed him the most.
While a Liverpool team in transition can afford and will tolerate the Brazilian’s occasional lapse in form, it is unlikely it would be the case with big clubs like Barcelona and PSG. With a number of quality players fighting for a place in the starting line-up for both the teams, Coutinho will have to be at his best over a consistent period of time if he has to upstage the seniors in the squad.
That said, if it really is the little magician’s desire to make the switch to one of the big clubs, it’s in his best interests that the midfielder stays on at Anfield for one more season, at the very least.
Klopp’s project at Anfield has brought the best out of him and the 23-year-old can take heart from the kind of growth players coached by the German have made under his guidance in the past.
With a team that is built around him, Anfield is the ideal stage for Coutinho to stay on and establish himself as the best in the world. Leaving at this point in time wouldn’t benefit any party, let alone Coutinho.