John Aldridge - Why Liverpool's board dare not sell Philippe Coutinho now
John Aldridge has insisted Liverpool cannot allow Philippe Coutinho to finalise his dream move to Barcelona and insists the Anfield faithful will welcome the Brazilian back into their hearts if he remains at the club.
Aldridge believes Liverpool decision to turn down Barca’s latest offer for Coutinho on Friday was evidence that the club will stand firm in their decision to hang on to their Brazilian No.10, even though he submitted a transfer request and asked to leave the club on the ever of the new Premier League season.
Barcelona are expected to return with what is being described as a ‘final’ offer for Coutinho in the coming days, but Aldridge believes the Anfield board appreciate they cannot sell their star man so late in the transfer window.
“Liverpool turned down another Barcelona bid for Coutinho on Friday and however difficult it may be for the player to accept this, he just cannot be allowed to leave the club right now,” Aldridge told sundayworld.com.
“I’m told their latest bid included an up-front payment of around £83m and the rest would have been added on in extras if he achieved success at Barcelona.
“Well, what could Liverpool realistically do in the next 10 days with that money to replace a player of Coutinho’s quality? Nothing, it’s as simple as that.
If all this had blown up a couple of months back, maybe Liverpool could have sold the player for a fee in excess of £100m and got down to the business of replacing him.
Now, that option has been taken off the table.
“If Coutinho goes, Liverpool would have a nightmare challenge of trying to sign players from clubs who don’t need or want to sell, while they will also know they can bump any selling price up with all that cash flowing into the Anfield coffers.
“Imagine if Coutinho left and the club fails to sign players to replace him, the fans will go mad!
“So the board just can’t let that happen and I’m sure they don’t need me to tell them that.”
Aldridge also believes Coutinho will be given a warm welcome back into the Liverpool first team if he remains at the club, despite his eagerness to leave for Barcelona.
“There may be some Liverpool fans who disagree with me here, but I don’t think there will be any problem with Coutinho if he comes back into the team after handing in a transfer request and effectively going on strike in the first week of the season,” he added.
“Luiz Suarez had a similar situation a couple of years back when he wanted to leave for Arsenal, but was persuaded to stay and turned in a great year for Liverpool before leaving for Barcelona.
“Now it is happening again and even though Coutinho will be disappointed to be denied the move, this is a World Cup year and he will want to work his arse off to make sure he is in the Brazil team next summer.
“If Coutinho does his best for Liverpool this season and leave a year from now, then no one will argue. The trouble is that the timing of this move now is all wrong for Liverpool and the player has to accept that.”