The name Coutinho has been a prominent one this January transfer window, with clubs including Aston Villa, Liverpool and Southampton showing keen interest in the talented Brazilian attacking midfielder.
Only this week it seemed that Southampton had moved into pole position for the Brazilian, having met Inter Milan’s asking price of £10.3m. It was also thought that new Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino would hold the key in any deal having managed Coutinho at Espanyol last season.
A big future was expected for Coutinho when he signed for Italian giants Inter Milan as a 16 year old but, the curly haired wizard has struggled to find first team opportunities at the Nerazzurri. Coutinho in contrast had a fruitful time under Pochettino on loan at Espanyol last season, scoring 5 goals in 16 games in La Liga.
However Pochettino’s generosity appears to have been overlooked with the 20 year old Brazilian strongly believed to desire Liverpool as his preferred destination. BBC Sport has since reported that Coutinho will be having a medical at Liverpool on Monday, with an £8.5m deal in place. The Anfield club will then be required to apply for a work permit for the player, yet this isn’t expected to be a stumbling block in the formalities of the transfer.
Coutinho can play anywhere in the attacking third of the pitch and will provide further strength to a quickly improving Liverpool side. Under Brendan Rodger’s the red side of Merseyside are moving from strength to strength and after a summer of further transfer activity will provide an even greater threat to the Premier League’s top four next season.
The deal will represent a kick in the teeth for Southampton boss Pochettino but, at least gives Saints fans a taster of the type of player that the Argentine will be looking to bring to the club. In this particular race however it finishes Liverpool1, Pochettino 0.
image: © Ben Sutherland