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Barcelona’s biggest Philippe Coutinho error was dealing with Liverpool in the first place

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Barcelona thought they had struck gold when signing Coutinho from Liverpool 12 months ago.

They were securing a player who had proved himself in the Premier League during four years, and established himself as one of the most creative players in the game.

They had tried, unsuccessfully, to lure Philippe Coutinho away from Liverpool mere months previously. It was, therefore, regarded as a significant coup when they landed their man last year.

But, fast forward to now, and Coutinho appears to be fighting for his Barcelona future.

The Brazil international has struggled to make his mark in La Liga - and ambitious reports have even dared suggest Manchester United would love to snap him up.

But Barcelona’s biggest mistake was dealing with Liverpool in the first place. For two reasons.

Firstly, the La Liga giants paid £142m to sign him. One Hundred and Fourty Two MILLION.

Coutinho, on his day, is an A-lister. But compare him to other big-money transfers and that fee just looks ludicrous.

Liverpool knew it, so they accepted it. They drove a hard bargain - long are the days where the Reds could be bullied like they were when Chelsea landed Fernando Torres in January 2011.

The Reds are on a different level to their rivals in the transfer window these days.

And they made sure Barcelona paid well over Coutinho’s worth to let the playmaker go.

Liverpool’s impressive dealings have extended to other players too. Alisson Becker and Xherdan Shaqiri have both been impressive recruits.

But they got £20m for a crocked Danny Ings from Southampton. And £19m for Dominic Solanke from Bournemouth - despite the youngster barely featuring.

A second reason Barcelona should never have dealt with Liverpool is because they simply didn’t NEED Coutinho.

In the summer of 2017, they had lost Neymar. A big player to see go.

But Ousmane Dembele was already a good enough replacement. The Barcelona star has experienced teething problems in Catalonia but is now, finally, showing his worth.

Did a team who had Dembele, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Paco Alcacer and Arda Turan really need another forward?

The answer was no. It was a luxury signing.

Whatever happens with Coutinho, Barcelona are paying the price for prioritising blockbuster names over what is needed.

A centre-back is more necessary - more so than Neymar. But what happens next remains to be seen.

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