Once thought unthinkable, the possibility for former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho to be playing in a different shade of red next season in the Premier League than one he was formerly used to is gaining momentum.
The midfielder is widely regarded to have fallen down the pecking order at Barcelona just a year after moving from Anfield to the Nou Camp in an eye-popping deal that made him the third most expensive footballer of all time.
Rumours of a sensational swoop by Liverpool’s perennial rivals Manchester United for the 26-year-old are now heating up, meaning Coutinho could become the first player since Michael Owen to play for both sides, and only the fourth in half a century.
Coutinho played at Liverpool for five years between 2013 and 2018, having been bought for a meagre £8.5million from Internazionale. He went onto to make over 200 appearances, scoring over 50 goals and contributing 45 assists.
Though he would no doubt cost the Red Devils an arm and a leg with Barca looking to recoup the enormous fee they parted with for his services, it would be a signing to boost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ever-improving side.
It is incredible that Coutinho is the most expensive player in Barca’s history and looking to move on after less than two years on the Mediterranean coast.
An initial £142 million was traded hands for the footballer in January 2018. However, certain clauses that were also inserted into the contract that could have earned Liverpool some more bunce from the blaugrana will be ultimately missed out on.
Boffins at The Mirror have kindly broken down how much his former side will miss out on, if the transfer goes ahead 18 months after the Brazilian swapped England for Spain.
Liverpool stand to earn a further £4.4million for every 25 La Liga appearances Coutinho makes for the blaugrana, up until 100 features.
Across the two seasons so far, Coutinho has made 43 (25 in 2017/18, and 18 in 2018/19 up until March 16th). It is likely he’ll hit the half century by the end of the season, though any omission to delay that seven could be seen as signs of an impending move.
If he doesn’t make those seven further appearances, that could be a total of £13.2million Liverpool will miss out on. If it does get to 50, that figure goes down to £8.8million.
Liverpool are however certain to receive the £4.4million owed if/when Barcelona qualify for the Champions League next season. They’re currently 22 points clear of dropping out of a qualification spot in the La Liga table, with 11 games left remaining.
Furthermore, Liverpool are promised an additional £4.4million (that figure again) when Barcelona win the European title, for the sixth time, if Coutinho is in the squad.
Since 2006 Barca have never gone more than four years without winning it, and the last coming in 2015, if Coutinho leaves this season for Old Trafford without that trophy, that £4.4million clause is removed.
That means, in total, Liverpool could stand to potentially lose a brobdingnagian £17.6million - or to put it another way, £100k more than an Emre Can, a Rickie Lambert, and a Joe Gomez - thanks to their hated rivals.