Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has pleaded with Philippe Coutinho to give the Reds one more season before forcing his way to FC Barcelona.
“The least he can do is give the club another year.”
That’s Steven Gerrard’s summary of the Philippe Coutinho transfer saga condensed into one sentence and really, you don’t need much more than that to see the reasoning behind FSG refusing to let him go.
The Brazilian willingly signed a new five-year contract back in January without a release clause, at the time claiming to the manager that he was happy at the club and wasn’t looking to move anywhere in the near future. The fickle nature of football I guess.
In the wake of the Liverpool no.10 handing in a transfer request on Friday afternoon, Steven Gerrard has pleaded for his ex-teammate to give the club that rescued his career just one more year before forcing his way out of the door.
“The problem here is Barcelona, because they will be saying to Coutinho’s representatives: ‘It’s now or never. If he doesn’t come now, we’re never coming back for him ever again’,” he said.
“So they’re piling the pressure on and that’s why Philippe’s reacted. This kid who’s come from South America has always had a dream of playing for Barcelona, and he’s panicking thinking that if he doesn’t do it now it’ll never happen again.
“I know the kid, I know he’s not a bad person, I know he doesn’t want to cause a war to come out. But at the end of the day he’s just signed a five-year deal, the club have been superb to him and made him the player he is.
“You remember he was struggling at Inter Milan. We gave him the chance, we built this player up. The least he can do is give the club another year.”
Gerrard was instrumental four years ago in convincing Luis Suarez to do the same and eventually the Uruguayan relented, going on to score 31 goals in a blistering 2013/14 campaign that nearly saw the Reds win the Premier League title before moving to Barcelona for £75m the following summer.
Gerrard, however, believes this could be an even bigger test for the club than convincing Suarez to stay was back in 2013, with Coutinho’s head not only turned but the fanbase in pandemonium.
“I think the difference here is Coutinho in January has just signed a five-year deal, become the highest-paid player at the club,” he continued.
“He comes out and says he’s really, really happy and then the first time Barcelona come he puts in a transfer request. I think the fans are frustrated and you can understand it.
“I think FSG have got it under control, and they’re the key. There’s been times in the past where players have been unsettled and they’ve gone in and said ‘I’m desperate to go’ and it’s ended up happening.
“This is a huge test for the club from top to bottom to try and be as strong as they can to the end and don’t give in.”