After refusing to have their resolve broken over the summer, Liverpool may not be holding on to Philippe Coutinho much longer says an ex-LFC star.
The summer-long transfer saga involving the Brazilian international was well-publicised, and to back the suggestion from Jason McAteer, Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague has suggested that Barcelona will return with an €80m bid for Coutinho in January.
To his credit, the 25-year-old has reintegrated himself into the team since the transfer window closed, scoring four goals and providing three assists in nine appearances in all competitions to re-establish himself as a key figure at Anfield.
However, having handed in a transfer request over the summer, as per The Guardian, it will be difficult to see Coutinho turn down a move to Barcelona if the two clubs can finally reach an agreement, and McAteer, who played for the Reds between 1995 and 1999, believes that we may well have even already passed that stage.
“Coutinho, I feel, was always that replacement [for Iniesta],” he told beIN Sports, as reported by The Mirror. “They will come back for him in the summer. I’ve got no doubt about it.
“I think the deal, possibly, has already been done.”
While there’s nothing to substantiate his claim as such, it’s a fear that many Liverpool fans are likely to share as while they were able to hold on to Coutinho this time round, it remains to be seen whether or not they can do so again.
A January swoop arguably doesn’t make much sense to the Catalan giants, given that they’ve started the season so well, sitting top of the La Liga standings and their Champions League group, and they arguably won’t want to disrupt the balance that Ernesto Valverde has found since arriving at the Nou Camp this past summer.
Further, Coutinho is now cup-tied in the Champions League having featured for Liverpool in the competition, and so he’ll be of no use to them in Europe for the remainder of the campaign.
In turn, McAteer may well be right about a deal for next summer, but nothing official has come out from either club and so no agreement exists as far as supporters are aware thus far.