Philippe Coutinho has handed FSG a major conundrum, and in doing so he has managed to turn the Liverpool fan base against him.
It is no secret that Coutinho sees himself, at some stage in his career, playing for Barcelona, and all the fans accept this.
We know of the love South American footballers, especially Brazilians, have when it comes to playing in La Liga. We’ve been here before with Luis Suarez.
As Liverpool fans, we accepted that at some stage we would lose our little magician to the bright lights of Spain.
— BarçaSpiral (@BarcaSpiral) August 12, 2017
PSG though had a different plan. By purchasing Neymar from the Catalan team, they started a series of events that will define what type of owners FSG actually are.
Will the owners hold firm that Coutinho is not for sale, or will they do what most fans expect them to do and take the money and run?
Hopefully, they show that they have a back bone, hold Coutinho to his contract and remind him of his obligation to the club.
The events of the past week regarding Coutinho and Liverpool have been painful to watch.
Many fans regard him as Liverpool’s best player and feel he is the key to unlocking the door to a Premier League title win.
The skullduggery he has shown by handing in a transfer request on the eve of Liverpool’s first Premier League game is a depth that no Liverpool player has sunk to before, and this has caused a plethora of emotions amongst Liverpool fans.
A lot is at stake for the player and the club. Liverpool need a player of Coutinho’s calibre to progress in this seasons Champions League.
In an attempt to unsettle the player, it has been rumoured in some sections of the press that Barcelona have informed Coutinho to either move this summer or stay at Liverpool.
This ultimatum has caused concern for the young Brazilian. His actions have taken the focus off the start of the Premier League season and put it solely on him.
He wants out but Liverpool are under no obligation to sell him. This has led to rumours surfacing that he has been advised by his agent to try and disrupt the harmony in the dressing room, thus trying to ensure that instead of playing in the Champions League this season Liverpool will be playing in the Europa League.
Coutinho, however, cannot afford to sulk if he remains at Anfield for the 2017/2018 season. With a World Cup looming, he needs to be putting in match winning performances on a regular basis this season to be sure he participates for Brazil in Russia next summer.
If he stays at Liverpool, does he have the ability to turn those fans who have been criticising him for his actions in his favour? I believe he can. Why? Because football fans are fickle. Liverpool fans have condemned Coutinho for his action, yet lauded Virgil Van Dijk for going on strike to try and force a move from Southampton to Liverpool.
The hypocrisy of it all is clear as mud.
Personally, I cannot see Barcelona getting their man this summer. FSG will not be bullied in to selling Coutinho. They hold all the cards here. He signed a five year contract last Christmas and as part of the contract they removed his minimum buy out clause. As stated already, FSG have said Coutinho is not for sale and as businessmen, when they say no they mean no.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 8, 2017
They are also aware of the effect selling Coutinho to Barcelona will have on the fan base. Those of us who are neither pro or anti-FSG will turn against them and they risk losing Jürgen Klopp. He came to the club with a seven year plan. No doubt he saw Coutinho as an integral part of that plan and to lose him now would set his plan back two years.
He will not want a repeat of the asset stripping of talent at Liverpool that occurred during his time at Borussia Dortmund.
The timing of the this latest saga could not come at a worse time for Liverpool. They are still quietly and tentatively sniffing around defensive target Van Dijk although no bid has been submitted, and it appears they have not given up hope of signing Klopp’s first choice midfield player Naby Keita either.
What was promised as a summer to remember by the owners, a summer of intent, is close to becoming another disastrous summer. If Coutinho leaves the club, I think the owners should pack their bags and follow the Brazilian player out of Anfield.