Coutinho’s move marks the end of Barcelona’s costly mistakes.


End of error.

One of the most disappointing technically and officially for players from every club in the history of football came on Thursday, almost four and a half years after joining Barcelona for an initial fee of £105 million (plus £142 million). Confirmed and finished. -ons), Philippe Coutinho moved to Aston Villa on a permanent move for a relatively small £15m ($21 million) after showing excellent loan performance this winter and spring. Not much of his own fault, the Brazilian has come to symbolize Barcelona’s post-Nymar-era disaster and his transfer feels like an important part of Xavi’s renewal process.

During his time at Barcelona, ​​Coutinho scored 41 goals in 160 appearances. He doesn’t sound that bad. Only 26 of those goals were for Barcelona, ​​two of which were infamous. against Bayern Munich’s Barcelona lost 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-final in August 2020, the most humiliating result in the club’s history.

Frank Hoermann/Sven Simon/Pool/Imago images

It’s not Coutinho’s fault. He was never the man Barcelona wanted. In the summer of 2017, after Paris Saint-Germain signed Neymar for 222 million euros, more than double the previous world record (the first record price jump since the 1890s), Barcelona had two problems. . .

First, Neymar was the future of the club. He was the youngest on the front line of the proud Lionel Messi-Luis Suárez-Neymar, and in time it was assumed that he would succeed Messi as an icon of the team. Barcelona needed a young creator who could take on the role.

Second, I felt humiliated. Barcelona had to be one of the best elite in the world. How could a wealthier rival push it aside, like when Real Madrid caught Luis Figo in 2000? All the old neuroses of the 1970s and ’80s, all the inferiority complexes before the Cruyff dream team came to the surface. It had the money, and it seemed inevitable to go out and spend it to lott two stars to make points. Although he has been plagued by injuries and contract disputes, he is leading La Liga’s assist this season) Liverpool managed the situation perfectly and after convincing Coutinho to sign a new contract in January 17th, he made the most of it possible. Negotiations have been postponed to January 18 in order to secure the largest transfer fee. That is the oddity of signing Neymar. The only real beneficiary was Liverpool.

Coutinho’s Barcelona debut was in the Copa del Rey against Espanyol. He had a promising start. He was a nutmeg to please fans longing for a few cool touches and new heroes. But Coutinho was neither the new Andres Iniesta, nor the new Neymar, nor even a hybrid of the two. Rather, because of his reluctance to press and his inconsistency, he was seen as a luxury, and this was a Barcelona side whose already aged midfielder was struggling to cover an increasingly generous forward line.

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When Barcelona met Liverpool in the 2019 Champions League semi-final, he was ridiculed by fans of both teams. In both games he was sent off after about an hour. To see him sitting on the bench at Anfield that night as Liverpool made one of the most unlikely comebacks in tournament history was to see a player looking at what his career might have been like. Instead, he became the object of a joke. “We got Salah” viral chorus.

Philippe Coutinho will remain at Aston Villa.

Nick Potts/PA Images/Imago Images

An official and final breakup with Barcelona was required for both parties. As Xavi rebuilds, it has to move to high-paying people reminiscent of the recent past. Coutinho will turn 30 in June. He should still remain at the highest level for 2-3 years, maybe even longer. Aston Villa undoubtedly retired, but joined as a teammate from current Villa Park manager Steven Gerrard, who has clearly cherished him since his Liverpool days.

“A great signing for Aston Villa. Phil is a modeling expert and his influence on the group has been very clear since joining the group in January,” Gerrard said in a statement. He is also a valuable role model for young players who can only benefit from his experience.”

There is a risk that Coutinho is on the James Rodríguez path. Too technical and expensive for most clubs, but lacking the defensive responsibilities the elites demand. Villa could easily become his Everton. This club is also made up of expensive players that haven’t made it anywhere else, some very young talents emerging and Lucas Digne.

But it’s also possible that Villa will become the ideal home, a club just below the elite where his skills can thrive and be valued for what they are rather than being accused of not being what people want. . Meanwhile, the rebuilding of Barcelona could continue. The quantifiable loss from the wrong transfer was horribly wrong and the final count failed.

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