Philippe Coutinho has been a revelation this season, scoring regularly and becoming Liverpool’s go-to man on many an occasion. He has been instrumental in the Reds’ rise to the top of the Premier League, so much so that Barcelona have been strongly linked with a move for him.
In the long-term, it is easy to see how the Brazilian would fit in at the Catalan giants, and it is equally easy to see why he might want to go. Neymar and Coutinho will surely play alongside each other for club, as well as country, one day… but not just yet.
Right now, Coutinho is not at the level required to play for Barcelona. Granted, he is not far away, but he would certainly benefit from staying with Liverpool for the time being. At the age of 24, there is plenty of time for a move in the future. Luis Suarez, for example, did not head for the Nou Camp until the age of 27.
As it stands, Barcelona have a midfield three of Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic. Coutinho would not get in ahead of them. Nor would he get into the side as part of the front three, where he plays for Liverpool – no need to explain why that would be.
In addition, Liverpool are in a strong position: much more so than when the likes of Suarez and Raheem Sterling left in the recent past. Coutinho relatively recently signed a new contract, and even though he is only on a modest £75,000-a-week, there will surely be an acceptance from the club that his wage will have to be increased in the near future, and they are likely happy to do that. Coutinho is not the type to kick up a fuss over money.
Coutinho is simply not someone who makes a commotion. Less than a year ago, he was happy to accept a relatively modest wage in the modern era, and for Liverpool to potentially double his salary to bring him up to the level of the other top earners like Daniel Sturridge and James Milner would not be too hard to do.
The Brazilian and his wife, Aine, are settled on Merseyside, having recently had their first child, and Coutinho is a vital cog in an impressive Liverpool side. Playing alongside compatriots Roberto Firmino and Lucas Leiva, he seems happy. He has stated many times that both himself and his family are content, and whilst that might not be the case forever, it is for now.
At this moment, Liverpool should be happy to enjoy watching the Brazilian every week. At some point, he will move on – and when he does, it is not a slight on the club. Rather, moving to Barcelona is simply the dream move for most players, not least those from South America.
There is no need to fear a Coutinho exit right now. At some point it is inevitable unless Liverpool somehow reach the level of Barcelona in the meantime. But it won’t happen just yet.
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