You can’t run away from the idea that there is now another player on the Liverpool team who most are dying to get a glimpse of. At various points throughout this season, it would have seemed unthinkable that anyone could catch the imagination in the way Luis Suarez has at Anfield, but credit to them, Liverpool’s capture of Coutinho will go a long way to shaping the immediate future of this team as well as proving that bargains can continue to be had in the transfer market.
Even with the big spenders from Manchester, West London and Paris, I was never convinced that the market had been completely distorted. Money makes life easier, it gives teams more than enough of an incentive to spend big, but it absolutely doesn’t mean they’ll win the day in the survival as the fittest. Liverpool’s signing of 20-year-old Coutinho has shown that smarts can overcome reckless spend.
It’s a home run in more ways than one. The Brazilian was brought in because he comfortably fits the profile the club’s owners were looking for: young with plenty of upside. And by upside, I mean resale value. But he’s proving to be so much more. Along with signings like Michu in the Premier League this season, Coutinho is evidence that plenty of excitement can be generated through modest spend in the market.
It was shrewd and a gamble in some ways for Liverpool to follow through on their interest when Inter Milan put the youngster up for sale. Evidently the stars didn’t align for him in Italy, but Coutinho’s short time in Spain offered more than enough to suggest here was a star in the making. It didn’t need eye-watering sums of money, but rather an eye for talent or enough wood on the fire to complete a deal like this. While money can be the get-out clause for many clubs across Europe, you have to really admire those who can spot a diamond in the rough.
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It wouldn’t be completely appropriate to praise Liverpool in such a way considering their transfer history, yet there is and should be a method to the way they’ll conduct business in the future. For the club most importantly, Coutinho’s signing was an indication that very good teams can be built be exploiting certain areas of the market. Now, it would be far too easy to assume there will be an Inter Milan wanting to get rid of a player like that every season, but there’s more than enough there to show that deals like that are not a one-off.
Looking to leagues like Spain and France have shown that bargains can be had. Players have come in and made a noticeable impression in the Premier League, even going on to overcome clubs who were in no way reserved in building their squads.
On one hand, you need to reserve judgment and remain patient. But on the other hand, that’s boring and sport requires you to get carried away every now and then. And who can really ignore the numbers? Coutinho has played a hand in five goals in his six games for Liverpool, two of which were goals. He adds unpredictability and drive to this Liverpool attack. He’s quick physically and mentally, and is proving to strike up an excellent partnership with Suarez.
It’s further proof that you don’t always need to rely on the Premier League in order to strengthen. Coutinho has made an impression that none of Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing or Joe Allen have been able to make. He is a definite talent who needed confidence from a club in order to truly come alive. It’s no surprise that the best of Coutinho came during his loan spell at Espanyol, with Mauricio Pochettino offering the youngster freedom from the left wing.
It’s the avenue of business you’d like to see most clubs go down. Yes, big signings do have their place in football, but patient and meticulous building has far more of a draw than persistent heavy spending. For now, Liverpool’s latest star signing is just a reminder that there is still plenty to be had away from the might of Europe’s richest and most powerful.
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