This article is written by George. Check him out on Twitter @georjecb.
Rumour round-up is a regular written series briefly covering all the big transfer rumours in the world of football. Here you can find out all the facts and read my personal opinions on potential transfers.
For the past couple of years Philippe Coutinho has been linked with a move to Barcelona and for good reason, too. The little magician embodies everything that Barcelona stand for. He's got extraordinary technical ability and a good understanding of the game, as well as having the flair required to stun an opponent at the most opportune of moments.
Coutinho signed a new five-year deal with the Reds last season worth £150,000-a-week. Right now the attacking midfielder is perhaps Liverpool's finest asset, just like Suarez was back in 2013 when he signed a big-money contract at Liverpool (prior to leaving for Barcelona). Could Coutinho follow in Suarez's footsteps and make a high profile move to Catalonia?
Although there are many parallels to be draw between Coutinho’s current situation at Liverpool and Suarez’s back in 2014, there’s also quite a few differences. The first is the difference in age between the two players. Coutinho has just turned 25, while Suarez was 27 when he made the decision to leave Liverpool. Although it’s only a two year difference, that’s a big jump in the football world. Coutinho has time on his side, so he doesn’t need to rush a move to Barcelona – he’s got plenty of years left to decide where his career ambitions will take him. For Suarez, on the other hand, 2014 was a year in which Liverpool came so close to winning the title, but ultimately fell (or slipped) at the final hurdle. The pressure of Suarez’s age forced him to make a decision: do I stay and hope Liverpool can win the league next season, or do I pull-out now and go to Spain. As you know, he chose the second option.
Klopp is building something special at Liverpool and Coutinho is at the heart of it all. At the tender age of 25 he can certainly afford to wait for a season or so and see how things pan out in Merseyside.
Liverpool recently rejected an €80m bid for Coutinho from Barcelona, according to the Guardian, and Jürgen Klopp has stated that the club intents to keep the little Brazilian: “we are not a selling club.” As for Philippe, despite constant speculation from the media he hasn’t been particularly vocal on the matter – however, when he has spoken to the papers he’s seemed happy to be at Liverpool.
There aren’t an awful lot of facts to go with this story. In my opinion it’s simply a matter of time before Coutinho leaves for another club, however, the amount time he stays at Liverpool is ultimately down to him. He could easily have another three years at the club and then move elsewhere to collect medals. Although Liverpool are adamant they want to keep Coutinho, as we saw with Suarez, it seems currently they simply aren't at a good enough level to prevent high-calibre players from looking elsewhere.
Simply put, I think Coutinho will be a Liverpool player next season. That being said, I do think it's inevitable he'll move to Barcelona at some point down the line. You don’t have to agree with me, though, so feel free to analyse the facts for yourself and draw your own conclusions. If you’d like to discuss this story further, tweet your opinions to @socabol and I (George) will get back to you. Thanks!