There we have it. One of the longest running transfer sagas of recent times has finally come to and end with the news that Philippe Coutinho is now set to move to Barcelona for an eye watering £142m. A fee that makes him the second most expensive signing in the history of the game.
We all know that it was his compatriot Neymar who caused a step change when it comes to transfer fees after his move to PSG last Summer. It took the French league leaders a simply stupendous £200m to prize him away from Barcelona and with the turn of the year the Catalan giants have finally got the man they have coveted for so long.
Now there is no questioning that Liverpool have done well in this deal from a financial stand point, especially after paying just £8.5m to acquire Coutinho from Inter Milan back in 2013. That’s £133.5m profit that the Merseyside outfit have made after moving the Brazilian international on.
But at what cost does this really come at, is there a possibility that the sale of the diminutive Brazilian in January cold derail Liverpool’s hopes of once again reaching the Champions League next season. They may well be three points clear of Tottenham at present but there is no doubting that the team has become considerably weaker overnight.
Perhaps Jurgen Klopp feels that he has enough attacking options at his disposal to mitigate letting Coutinho depart halfway through the season. Especially when Mohamed Salah is having such an impressive start to his career at Anfield.
Philippe Coutinho may well have missed the start of the season through injury as the rumours of him being Barcelona bound grew ever louder, but he still chipped in with seven goals in fourteen Premier League appearances, a record of a goal every other game is certainly not one to be sniffed.
If you were to extrapolate that record between now and the end of the season, there are 16 matches left to play and that would mean another eight goals to his tally. Just how crucial could those additional eight goals be and more importantly who will pick up the slack?
Perhaps it is not someone already in the squad as although Liverpool have lost one of their best players to sunnier climbs they have a huge amount of money to spend and they could be spending it as soon as they receive it with the news that Riyad Mahrez is being earmarked as a replacement.
The Leicester winger has been in the shop window as the Algerian international has made no secret of his desire to leave the King Power Stadium and although his form has not been quite at the level of the fairy tale league winning season of 2015/16, he has of late shown glimpses of what he is capable of.
Perhaps the step up in league placing will re-ignite Mahrez and not only that he could be a valuable asset in Liverpool’s bid for the Champions League this season as he will not be cup tied and free to play in the Round of 16 next month.
That is perhaps why he becomes more of an attractive proposition then that of say Thomas Lemar of Monaco, he has already featured in Europe’s top club competition so would be unavailable, that and the fact he would cost nearly double that of Mahrez.
It is believed that a fee of £50m will allow Mahrez to swap Leicester for Liverpool in what is arguably a deal that suits all parties. Liverpool get a ready made replacement, Mahrez gets the move he has been craving while Leicester get a handsome amount of money.
It can only be deemed if selling Coutinho this early was good business if they qualify for the Champions League, a top four finish and Jurgen Klopp got his dealings spot on, however should they miss out then questions will undoubtedly be asked. I guess we will know the answer come the end of May.