Losing a star player is never easy. With Barcelona losing the Brazilian phenomenon Neymar top clubs around Europe must have been concerned. Borussia Dortmund have conceeded the fact that French youngster Ousmane Dembele is destined for the Catalan club as they have accepted an offer for over £100 million for him. Liverpool fans may now be a little bit more relaxed as their man, Philippe Coutinho, was well an truly on Barca’s shortlist. Perhaps he still is. Would losing their own Brazilian be such a big deal for the Anfield club? Jurgen Klopp should take the inflated price and move on.
Before Liverpool fans question my sanity and never read an article on this site again, hear me out.
First and foremost £138 million is a lot of money. Coutinho is a fantastic asset for the club but at that price Barcelona are overpaying. The move seems inevitable anyway, why risk this massive amount of money to get less money next season? It does not mean sense. Coutinho could stay and have a brilliant season, only increasing Barca’s interest but the dust has settled on their record breaking sale of Neymar meaning Barcelona would not be offering such a high fee and Coutinho is even more adamant he wants to leave. If Liverpool keep him and he has a bad season Barcelona may not be interested. Then you are left with the Brazilian playmaker frustrated his move to Spain has not happened and the Merseyside club could face losing him to a rival club.
The current squad at Anfield is also unbalanced. Going forward they are excellent (with or without their number 10), they have a decent midfield but have problems at the back and in the goalkeeping department. Getting the money from this sale could see them develop different parts of the squad and make them a more evenly strong side.
A recent argument between Jamie Carragher and Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports brought Liverpool’s defensive weaknesses to the forefront, especially from set pieces. The money from this mega sale would give Liverpool the chance to secure long term defensive target Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.While as Carragher suggests he will not solve the defensive issues. Zonal marking is hard to implement successfully but is something that Klopp seems determined to persist with. There is no doubt that Van Dijk would improve matters. Even after signing the Dutch centre back Liverpool would have money let to strengthen other key areas.
Losing Coutinho would mean suffering a blow to their attacking options but they seem to have depth in this area. The first choice front three is likely to be, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and new signing Mohamed Salah. Then they have replacements such as – Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke. Obviously letting Coutinho go leaves a hole. However, this is an area Liverpool can take the hit.
The most reassuring aspect of the sale has to be Klopp’s history of rebuilding. He took over Borussia Dortmund in 2008 after they finished 13th in the league. The improvement started instantly and they finished 6th in his first season in charge. When it came to the 2010 summer transfer window things became interesting at the German club. He signed three major players – Robert Lewandowski, Shinji Kagaw and Lukasz Piszczek who all became vital players for the club. This helped the club to the summit of the Bundesliga for the first time in 9 years.
While the next three seasons they added another Bundesliga title and two second place finishes key players left. First Nuri Sahin went to Real Madrid, Kagawa went to Manchester United and Mario Gotze switched to major rivals Bayern Munich. In these three years Ivan Perisic came and went as well.
The key to staying competitive during this three year period for Klopp’s Dortmund? Good recruitment. While they lost 4 players during that time they signed 5 with the money they received. In 2011-12 they bought Perisic who later left and Ilkay Gundogan. The next season they brought back former youth team player Marco Reus who has been a long term success at Dortmund. When Gotze left in the summer of 2013 they replaced him with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Selling key players is something that the German manager has had to endure. His scouting system and selection of player to replace an outgoing star has been proven. Dortmund’s success was sustained over what could have been a difficult period for them by spending money wisely and investing in the correct areas. Fear from Liverpool supporters is understandable after the way Brendan Rodgers invested the money received for Luis Suarez.
Losing Philippe Coutinho would be difficult for any football club and their fans. It is not the end though. Liverpool have a wealth of talent and if they can invest their money wisely the could end up with a better squad than they do at the moment. Klopp is the man for the job. His style of management is key and if he can clean up the defensive area of the team and strengthen central midfield a little he could end Liverpool’s long wait for a league title – without Coutinho.