For some players playing at the Camp Nou or the Bernabeu is the stuff of dreams but if you hail from South America, the allure of playing at one of these great stadiums is deemed the pinnacle of your career.
You have to look at the teams of both Barcelona and Real Madrid and you’ll see their is a South American flavour to their clubs. Barcelona’s current front three all hail from South America. The Real Madrid team is also littered with South American players who form a strong spine of the team.
Spains big two have a rich history of transforming young and upcoming players in to world beaters so it’s no wonder that so many South American players want to end up playing there. If a player happens to be from that side of the world, are doing well in Europe, it’s only a matter of time before either Real or Barca come knocking at your door.
Where am I going with all this? Well currently Liverpool’s number 10, Philippe Coutinho has come to the attention of both Real Madrid and Barcelona and it’s rumoured Barcelona are willing to part money next summer to bring Liverpool’s magician to the Camp Nou.
This season Coutinho is having his best season ever with Liverpool, up until he got injured, Coutinho had scored 5 goals, created 33 chances and created 5 assists. He has made 547 passes and a pass success rate of 84% with 75% of those passes being forward passes.
Here’s the thing though, if Coutinho leaves Liverpool for Barcelona, would he be able to dislodge any of its current forward or midfield stars. Some will argue that he could replace Iniesta, but I can’t Iniesta retiring for another 3-4 years.
Then there’s Neymar. He is rumoured to be a target of all the big clubs around Europe, but I can’t see anyone stumping up the kind of money Barcelona will want for the young Brazilian.
Of Coutinho were to leave Liverpool for Barcelona where would it leave him within the team dynamic? Would he be happy sitting on the Barcelona bench week in, week out, playing in non important games or when a player gets injured?
I would like to think he has more ambition than that. For many players the move to one of Spain’s big two doesn’t always work out, leaving players broken both mentally and physically.
A recent example of this is Cesc Fabregas. During his time at Arsenal, you would be hard bet to find a better midfielder in the Premier League. Under the guidance of Arsene Wenger, he turned Fabregas from a rough around the edges player in to a World Cup winning midfielder.
It came as no surprise than when he returned to Barcelona to take his place along side players he grew up with at the famous Barcelona Academy La Masia. For Fabregas though his Barcelona dream turned in to nightmare. He couldn’t seem to manage the expectations of playing for Barcelona and lost his way a bit.
His dream ended in 2014 when after making just 96 appearances for the Catalan side in 3 years at the club he was shipped off to Chelsea. Looking at his now he isn’t half the player he was at Arsenal. His confidence is gone and he now struggles to get in to the Chelsea.
What does this have to do with Coutinho i hear you ask, well at 24 I think any move to Barcelona will have the same effect on Coutinho as it did on Fabregas, he’ll spend a few years at the Camp Nou before being moved on a broken player.
In my opinion Coutinho needs a few more seasons at Liverpool to continue his development both mentally and physically.
Under the guidance of Jürgen Klopp I believe that in a few years he will have gained the experience he needs to play in front of 100000 fans and will be able to cope with the pressures of playing at a club with such high expectations.
Or he just finish he days at Liverpool helping the team win their 6th Chanpiins League and over take Manchester United as the team with the most league titles.
Whatever he does it’s going to be an important 9 months for Coutinho between now and the start of next season.
Written by @TheMoanyOne