The Coutinho to Barcelona story dominated the summer transfer window and was one of the blockbuster stories apart from the Neymar and Dembele saga, difference being the latter two stories materialised while this one didn’t. This winter window has just opened and the circus already has started with Nike adding fresh ammunition to fire by leaking a news declaring sale of Coutinho Barcelona jerseys , supposedly by mistake (or is it?). Let us see why this supposed transfer has turned into a saga, why Barcelona want him so dearly and why Liverpool is adamant not to sell him and what is Nike’s role in this….
The whole saga started with the rumours of Neymar leaving for PSG. Barcelona’s entire focus at beginning was in Veratti since they were in search of a suitable player to play the Iniesta role in midfield. But Neymar’s departure lead Barca into panic. They were after Dembele and got him too, but Dembele is still green behind the ears and Barca needed a more established star in order to support Messi and Co in challenging for major silverware after a relatively mediocre season. Since Dembele is still young, who better than Coutinho who basically is a winger/wide playmaker cutting inside from the left, but under Klopp has started also playing in midfield in a more controlled and creative role. Barca always values players who can effectively play in multiple roles, and here the player is Coutinho, one of the best in Epl, who can not only deputise in the left wing role, but can also play in midfield in the Iniesta role. Naturally, even after securing Dembele, they went after Coutinho and we’re adamant to get him.
The problem arose when Liverpool put down their foot and absolutely refused to sell. With the recent influx of astronomical TV revenue money, Liverpool were in no shortage of cash, and under Klopp, they are building a squad capable of challenging in all fronts. They have acquired Salah who is tearing EPL up, they have formed a terrific trio upfront, they have secured Keita to bolster their midfield and also are after Goretzka.They have brought Virgil Van Dijk for a world record fee for a defender. Of course this situation is at present since all these purchases and situation are recent phenomenon, but the ambition and planning was set up since last summer when Liverpool were madly pursuing Van Dijk and already secured Keita. They were in no mood to sell their best player, since they have learned from selling Suarez beforehand, selling your best player, even for astronomical fee and reinvesting them in other required areas, are not always productive. The situation is still same today and so is Liverpool’s stand on the matter.
Where does Nike comes into all this. Nike signed a huge 150 million per year Shirt deal with Barca since Barcelona had Neymar, a poster boy for global football and Latin America. Messi already is tied to Adidas. Now with Neymar’s departure, they need a new poster boy to bolster their sales in the Latin American market. Coutinho is nowhere near Neymar in matter of marketing, Neymar rivals even the likes of Messi and Ronaldo in matter of market appeal. But since Neymar is not there, Coutinho is the next best bet, being already an established star and already quite popular in EPL. That mistakenly published news might be a ploy to create more pressure on both Barcelona and Liverpool, especially the later one, to expedite the transfer under fans frenzy. Liverpool, understandably, are livid and are considering taking both Nike and Barcelona to court regarding the slip up. Whatever might be the outcome in coming times, this one transfer saga is far from over and will continue producing more twists and turns in the coming days. We, like you, are keeping our eyes glued on this one…