It was a sale which wasn’t exactly popular.
After Liverpool held firm and refused to sell Philippe Coutinho in the summer of 2017, Reds supported largely praised the club for sticking to their guns and refusing to cash in on their number 10.
So their decision to subsequently agree to Coutinho’s transfer at the second time of asking in January was criticised by many.
After scoring 12 goals in 20 appearances, Coutinho was at the heart of a Liverpool team who were beginning to hint at a potentially glorious campaign last term.
However, when Barcelona came calling, his head was turned for a second time. Jurgen Klopp insisted he had no option but to sell the Brazil international for an eye-watering £142m.
Coutinho’s Anfield return on Sunday has once again thrust him back into the thoughts of Liverpool supporters, but his sale hasn’t been the death knell many predicted it would be for Liverpool.
Six months on, that £142m is perhaps powering the club towards its exciting midfield restructure.
RB Leipzig’s sixth-placed finish in the Bundesliga meant Liverpool would be paying the German side £52.75m for Naby Keita .
If Leipzig had ended up seventh or below in Germany’s top flight, Keita would have cost Liverpool £48m.
However, securing a Europa League spot means that the Reds will have to shell out £52.75m, which sees Keita become the second most expensive player in Liverpool history behind Virgil van Dijk.
Another big-money midfield recruit this summer is Fabinho, who was quietly targeted before the initial £39.3m swoop was confirmed like a bolt from the blue last week.
The Reds pulled off a surprise by landing for the Brazilian midfielder last Sunday, having agreed a deal with Ligue 1 side Monaco.
The deals for Keita and Fabinho see Liverpool’s spending up to around the £92m mark this summer, leaving them – theoretically at least – close to £50m left in the kitty from Coutinho’s exit report the Liverpool Echo.
That brings us to how Liverpool might use their pot to replace Barcelona’s Coutinho.
Nabil Fekir is the frontrunner at this stage, and Liverpool are keen to snare the £60m-rated France international from Lyon.
Liverpool’s recruitment staff have scouting the attacking midfielder extensively and watched on as Fekir scored 23 goals last term for OL.
Reports in France earlier this weekend suggested Fekir and his agent were due on Merseyside on Sunday for talks.
However, such a report is premature at this stage, but Liverpool remain keen to add Fekir to their attacking armoury next term.
A £60m deal would take Liverpool’s spending on a midfield re-shape up to £152m – a mere £10m more than the whopping fee received for Coutinho.
The signing of Keita was conducted while Liverpool still had plans to keep Coutinho, and the addition of his defensive-minded compatriot Fabinho is unlikely to have been completed with the Brazil international’s absence in mind.
And while the sale of Coutinho was one that left many scratching their heads back in January, you will hear few grumbles about it around Anfield if Fekir follows Fabinho and Keita through the entrance this summer.
Source : DailyPost