Landing a dream job

From being the talisman of Liverpool, he has come to a club brimming with superstars. It now remains to be seen how Philippe Coutinho handles this dream job.

On cloud nine: Brazilian Philippe Coutinho is ecstatic after making his first appearance at Camp Nou as a Barcelona player.   -  AFP

My first reaction to the Philippe Coutinho transfer was that it was best for all parties involved; Barcelona got their man, Liverpool got good money and the Brazilian got his dream move.

With due respect to Liverpool, when a call comes from Barcelona not many would turn the chance down.

Many questioned the rationale behind his mid-season move — Coutinho is Champions League Cup-tied and Barcelona isn’t desperate for reinforcements in its pursuit of the league — but I disagree. As a player such opportunities are rare and where is the guarantee of a similar offer next summer?

He won't play a part in the Champions League, but Coutinho can still play a key role in domestic matches, including Cup games. It is wrong to assume that the Brazilian will have it easy over the next five months. Barca is walking towards the La Liga title, but personally he will have to step up whenever he gets on the field.

In a club like Barcelona, you are expected to perform in every game. I’m sure he is working hard because he has stiff competition. There is pressure in the air the minute you land in Barcelona.

Versatility is his key

I am a big fan of Coutinho! He is a top player and very versatile. He can play on the left side of a front three, like Neymar used to, and he can do a midfield job as well. The Brazilian did it admirably for many years for the red half of Merseyside. He has many attributes, but his pace stands out. He is the most dynamic player Barcelona has, apart from Messi of course.

The Catalans will, probably, first slot him on the left side of the front three. However, with Ousmane Dembélé already in the fold, Barca can go all guns blazing by playing him on the right, Coutinho on the left and Messi in the hole behind Luis Suarez. Now that will be a treat to watch and the competition better keep an eye on the potential damage from the foursome.

Coutinho gives Barcelona a variety of options; the Brazilian has dribbling, scoring, passing vision and assisting in his repertoire.

Price tag? What price tag?

Yes, critics and football fans alike will be breathing down the Brazilian’s neck due to the insane transfer fee. However, I don't think he should take it to his head; and I suspect he won't.

I won’t get into the argument of whether the player is worth the amount because transfer fees are the making of the negotiating clubs, football agents and the market. The player has nothing to do with the economics involved, they don’t create the market.

Spare a thought for Liverpool though. They have lost one of their best players. But they won’t struggle as Jurgen Klopp has set them up as a tight functioning unit. Firmino as the No. 9, Mane on the left, Salah on the right, and with Coutinho out of the picture Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is shining in his preferred midfield role.

Drawing parallels with Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United, I feel Arsenal will miss the Chilean more than Liverpool will miss Coutinho.

Right place

Coutinho is at the right club in Barcelona. As a player, he is a top-notch talent. He is quick, his decision making is super and he can make a pass. Barcelona has got itself a superb player. From being the talisman of Liverpool, he has come to a club brimming with superstars. It now remains to be seen how the Brazilian handles this dream job.