Liverpool’s attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been back on the rumour mill, with potential suitors Barcelona once again considering making a move for the Brazil international once the transfer window opens, or next summer (depending on your sources).
Last time, Liverpool held on to their man. To be fair to Coutinho, he did appear to want the move but rather than reacting badly to not getting it he has knuckled down and continued playing for the shirt at Anfield. But with each move that comes in from a club the size of Barcelona, surely it must get more tempting?
That’s not to knock Liverpool of course – such a great club with a great set of fans and a history to match. In this day and age, though, they aren’t at the level they once were – in spite of having a squad capable of producing real quality when it is required. Coutinho is one of the stars – so surely it seems only natural that one of Europe’s modern day giants should come calling. If you fancy a gem when it comes to hidden betting advice, keep an eye on the odds of him staying compared to leaving Merseyside during one of the next two transfer windows.
BBC Sport’s gossip page reported that Barcelona could be prepared to pay more than £88.3m to bring the 25-year-old in, and should Liverpool fail to do much in the way of progressing towards some silverware this season then one could be tempted to suspect that Coutinho may be on his way. With that said, let’s take a look at which players could fill his boots should he leave a vacant spot on the team sheet.
New Germany international Kerem Demirbay could be a player that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp would look at for that role. The pair worked together for a couple of years at Borussia Dortmund before Klopp left for a new life in the Premier League, while Demirbay soon left for Hamburger (and now plies his trade for 1899 Hoffenheim).
Then again, Liverpool have had something of a track record of raiding Southampton for talent. Signings from Saints in recent seasons have included Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert and Sadio Mane – so why not make it one more and take a look at Dušan Tadić?
The Serbian international is a popular figure at St. Mary’s, and Liverpool could certainly do worse – though whether he is capable of performing at the level of Coutinho remains to be seen.
Algerian international Ryad Boudebouz is having a decent season for Real Betis in La Liga, but he really looked like a master during his time in France with Montpellier. He is a seasoned international with 24 caps to his name so far, but again it would be a long shot to try and get him to fill the role Coutinho is currently performing.
On the other hand, Klopp is more than capable of reshuffling his team to allow the likes of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino to tighten up and fill that hole on the pitch, while throwing in a more defensively-minded player to help the team’s somewhat shaky defence.
While signing that player will naturally take some of the huge profit on the potential Coutinho sale, it could allow the Liverpool boss a nest egg to raid in the summer to make a real push for honours next season. A club like Liverpool should be chasing trophies year in, year out of course – but a head start is never a bad thing.