Amidst a flurry of transfer rumors linking him away from the club, Liverpool’s Brazilian star Philippe Coutinho has signed a long-term deal keeping him in Merseyside until 2022. One of the bigger parts of the contract signing was that there is no release clause included in the deal. Meaning if another club wants to come and try and purchase him from Liverpool, it will take a hefty fee and one that Liverpool will have to agree on.
Coutinho has been the guy for Liverpool over the past few seasons and has been something of a blossoming superstar in the Premier League. His play as a creative midfielder opens up the attacking options for players like Daniel Sturridge (when healthy) and Roberto Firmino. Coutinho has made 13 EPL appearances for Liverpool this season and has 5 goals and 5 assists for the Reds. So that means when he plays, he makes a high impact for Liverpool.
Coutinho spoke to LFCTV about signing the new deal and said:
“I signed this new contract to stay here for a few more years because it’s a great honor for me. It gives me great happiness because I was welcomed here with open arms by everyone at the club and the supporters right from my first day. I am very thankful to this football club for everything.”
Manager Jurgen Klopp went on to say that he is very excited at Coutinho staying at the club and that the signing is “ a big statement”.
“We have total belief in our project, but when a player of Phil’s caliber and status commits for this length of time it shows that our faith is shared throughout the game. He knows he can fulfill his dreams and ambitions here at Liverpool. This is a big statement.”
The move will likely attract other Liverpool stars to sign deals at the club to try and secure a brighter future together for the club. The contract not including a release clause is a huge statement that this is not just a deal for the short term, but one he has full hope and faith in seeing out at Liverpool.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 25, 2017
It should be added though, that former Liverpool star Luis Suarez was in a similar situation at the club and seemed like he was going to stay at the club. Of course he had the whole biting incident at the World Cup in 2014. However, I still think if Barcelona came in with a formal bid of a significant amount, I think it would be nearly impossible for Liverpool to hold onto their star man as he would be tempted by the flood lights that shine over Camp Nou on a Catalonia night.
If I had to predict what will happen it will be that he will stay another year or two, Barcelona will offer a fee Liverpool will not refuse and Coutinho will become a Barcelona player down the road. Could he still stay at the club for the long haul? Possibly. But I still see the Brazilian playing alongside Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez in the future.