5 Oct 2015

Next to Leave? 'Sensational' £41m Liverpool star reacts to transfer speculation; confirms he's 'focused' on LFC

In his new autobiography, Reds legend Steven Gerrard predicts that Liverpool will lose Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in a 'few seasons', and with the likes of Ronaldinho, and Luis Suarez consistently massaging Coutinho's ego, it's surely only a matter of time before he ends up at the Nou Camp. Last week, Neymar became the latest Barca star to praise the coveted Brazilian, but Coutinho insists that he isn't affected by subtle attempts to tap him up.

In September, Neymar told ESPN:

"I see many Brazilian players with quality, But one that I like and I think could play here is Coutinho. He has the style of Barcelona."

There seems to be a concerted effort to get £41m-rated Coutinho to quit Anfield. Other recent examples:

* May 2015: Ronaldinho told the Daily Mail: "I know what Barcelona look for in a player and he [Coutinho] has those qualities. Barcelona and Coutinho would be the perfect fit".

* Aug 2015: When asked to name his favourite Premier League player, Suarez told UEFA officials:

"My favourite player at the moment in the Premier League is [Liverpool attacker] Philippe Coutinho".

* Sep 2015: David Luiz mused: "The best need to be playing with the best. If Liverpool don’t qualify for the Champions League, I am sure he [Coutinho] will be the most in demand player in Europe".

Reacting to Neymar's comments this week, Coutinho admitted it's 'nice' to be linked with Barcelona, but insisted he's 'totally focused on Liverpool', adding:

"I heard what Neymar said but I want to do well with Liverpool. I'm focused on Liverpool to help them do good things on the pitch".

This is nice to hear, but what else is Coutinho going to say in public?

The probability is that leaving Liverpool is already on Coutinho's mind. Indeed, when asked recently about life on Merseyside, Coutinho admitted that he's not a fan of British food, and made it clear that he hates the weather.

"It's hard. I'm still not totally used to it, and every time it's cold, it's really tough. I'm making do as best I can."

This may seem like an innocuous comment, but if thing don't improve at Anfield, this seemingly minor issue will become one of a number of major reasons to leave the club.

Like Mascherano, Alonso, Torres, and Suarez, Coutinho - described by Brendan Rodgers as 'sensational - will only 'make do' for a certain period of time before he gets fed up and quits the club,

With Rodgers now gone, the chances of keeping Coutinho long-term can only increase, but even with a top-class manager at the helm (i.e. Klopp, Ancelotti, or even Frank De Boer), the lure of the Nou Camp may ultimately prove to be too strong.

Mark my words: transfer speculation will intensify in December and January, and when the summer comes, Coutinho will be the big transfer story of the window, just like Sterling in the summer window.

Unlike Sterling, though, Coutinho will conduct himself with dignity and humility, just as he always has at Liverpool.

It's Luis Suarez all over again: Coutinho will stay to help the club qualify for the Champions League, and then leave.

Author: Jaimie K


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