Liverpool and Barcelona have officially agreed to the transfer of Philippe Coutinho for a fee in the region of €160 million.
Liverpool and Barcelona have officially agreed the transfer of Philippe Coutinho for a region of €160 million, in a five-and-a-half year deal that includes a release clause of €400m. Once the final sale is finalized, the move would make him the second-most expensive player in the world behind his compatriot Neymar, who left Barça for Paris Saint-Germain last summer for approximately €222m.
The Catalan giants made the announcement on Saturday after it was reported that Liverpool had left the 25-year-old Brazilian behind for their winter training camp in Dubai.
On Sunday, Coutinho made his first appearance as a Barça player after the club defeated Levante 3-0 at Camp Nou, but the team will officially unveil its new star on Monday, which includes a public photo shoot on Camp Nou's pitch and his first press conference shortly after.
"The Brazilian is a versatile presence in the squad as his technical ability and vision allow him to play in midfield," said Barcelona's official statement. "His attacking instincts also mean that he is equally at home in a more advanced role on the wing. Coutinho is quick and always willing to take on defenders and his nose for goal is undeniable as he scored 13 times for Liverpool last season."
Since joining Liverpool from Inter Milan in 2013, Coutinho scored 41 goals for the Merseyside club, making him one of the most exciting players in the Premier League in recent years.
The Brazilian attacker will reunite with his former Reds teammate Luis Suarez, after the Uruguayan left for Barca in 2014. He debuted for his country in 2010 and this summer, barring no setbacks, will mark his first ever World Cup appearance.
It will be interesting to see how he features in Ernesto Valverde's setup and perhaps more importantly, if this move helps his development as a player. From a big picture standpoint, few can deny this transfer helps the Brazilian as he now joins a team undefeated in the league and coached by a manager who celebrates offensive creativity as well as a focus defensive proficiency. But due to the timing of the move, Coutinho is ineligible for European competition, meaning he won't be part of the club's Champions League squad.
How this hinders his momentum in a World Cup year is up for debate. In the meantime, Barcelona fans can now be thankful of having one of the best attacking line-ups in world football.