WHEN a club’s star player signs a new deal it should signal sighs of relief and celebrations from their fans, especially when said player has been attracting interest from Europe’s big boys.
However, when it was confirmed that Philippe Coutinho had signed a new five-year deal at Liverpool, the reaction was far from that — in fact many seemed resigned to his eventual departure.
That, despite the fact that it makes the Brazilian the club’s highest earner, recognition of his increasing importance to the team. As well as, more importantly, there being no kind of release clause which would tie the Reds down to a future sale.
But still, many seem to think we’ve been here before.
In December 2013, after a summer of wrangling over a move to Arsenal, Luis Suarez signed a new ‘long-term’ deal at Anfield, which saw his wages rise to £200,000-a-week. The crucial detail, however, was that it added a release clause into his contract, the value of which hinged on Champions League qualification.
Upon signing the new deal the Uruguayan said: “I am delighted to have agreed a new deal with Liverpool and have my future secured for the long term.
“I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool. My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible.”
The rest is history, if you will. Suarez scored 31 league goals as he fired Liverpool into a title race. They ended up missing out reducing the striker to tears on the pitch, as they all but handed the title to Manchester City after a 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace.
Those tears told a false story. Barcelona came calling, after more disciplinary trouble at the 2014 World Cup, and his release clause was met. Liverpool were powerless and another star was heading for the Anfield exit.
But there’s a crucial difference to consider when comparing the new deals of Coutinho and that of Suarez — and it’s not only in the detail of a release clause. Suarez spent the whole previous summer before his deal kicking up a fuss, threatening legal action and being made to train alone after trying to force a move to a Premier League rival. Coutinho, on the other hand, spent the whole summer being linked with Barcelona and didn’t bat an eyelid. He remained on task and the rumblings from his ‘camp’ were that he was happy at the club.
Upon announcement of Suarez’s new deal it felt Liverpool had all but signed off on a move for the striker, and that of course turned out to be the case. Coutinho’s deal shouldn’t feel that same way.
Another example that can be compared with this is Raheem Sterling, particularly if you want to see how it could go the other way.
Sterling had enjoyed his best season for the club and looked as though he possessed the potential to be genuinely world-class. As such, he went to the club looking for wages that replicated this.
While most believed the club should stand firm, and that Sterling was getting carried away, a few argued that he was now a crucial asset to the club and his wages should reflect that.
The club stood firm. The player and his agent showered themselves in bad press and he left for Manchester City underneath a grey cloud.
It’s hard to blame Sterling for moving on. Liverpool had finished sixth in his final season, captain Steven Gerrard was set to leave the club and things were looking bleak — with the aforementioned Suarez departed, Daniel Sturridge stuck on the treatment table and only Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli to fill those boots. City, on the other hand, had finished second and had the money to keep pushing on, as well as Champions League football.
The key to the Sterling saga, as many saw it, was that Liverpool should have offered a new contract before it even got to the stage where the player thought about leaving. They were also criticised for not offering the departing Gerrard a new deal earlier. Liverpool were looking increasingly weak in contract negotiations.
That’s why it is even more difficult to believe the reaction to Coutinho’s new deal.
The Reds have tied their best player down for five years. He’ll be 30 by the time this deal expires. There is no release clause, so the club can’t be forced into a sale. And they’ve been ruthless in ensuring this deal gets done. There has been no stalling, no disputes with agents, it’s been done swiftly and allows the club to continue trying to achieve their ambitions for the season.
This should be a huge positive for the club, instead it is being spun as a negative.
Is this an effect of modern football? A by-product of the way the Reds are performing at the moment? Does it all have to be doom and gloom?
We’ve got Coutinho. We don’t have to sell him until he’s 30 years old. He isn’t making a fuss.
Can’t we just be happy?
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Nice work Josh. The situation: Get a contract sorted or don’t. We have. Its great news, he is here for the foreseeable, if he wants to move on in a year or so, his value is high.
Like Saurez was here for the foreseeable? After another profitable window, FSG will see this as maximising Coutinhos value, ripe for a summer sale and yet another profitable summer transfer period. This isn’t negativity, this is FSG. Shit owners.
Take a look at our top ten most expensive players in history.
Then take a look at under who’s ownership they were bought.
Take a look at our most profitable players sold in history.
Then take a look at under who’s ownership they were sold
That doesn’t make sense.
Not only does it not make sense but it also completely disproves what you’re trying to unsuccessfully say.
And yet. And yet. FSG have never taken a penny out of Liverpool Football Club.
Sorry mate,you are right. FSG bought LFC out of a love of the city of Liverpool ..
deary me. you ok fella?
Great mate. Just outplayed by Southampton and face going out of the FA cup against Wolves or getting battered by Chelsea as we have no depth of quality and can’t rotate….All thanks to our fantastic owners who strengthened the bottom line in the last Window. You ok?
Great piece! Is the title a niche inbetweeners reference? From the retirement home scene?
Isn’t he the obvious successor to Iniesta, and it’s only a matter of time?
Why the fuck you even considered writing this doommongers/trolls charter I don’t know. He signed for a further 5 years, we’ve got him on the top whack and the arse fans are kicking off at Wenger over our slick operation, so who gives a shit about the trolls?
Phil seems like a great lad. Klopp has confirmed this today. Doesn’t mean he won’t ever move on in the future. His new contract is fantastic news. Let’s hope he can become an even better player in a Liverpool shirt for years to come… Shame they didn’t take the same approach with raheem.
Heckler and Kop don’t have a clue about the situation or our owners! Take a look around mate and observe what really shit owners have done to many clubs and be grateful for FSG who have both saved and transformed our club.
Transformed into what? From Istanbul and Athens to beating the bitters?
Well done, Josh. A shame it was even necessary. Haters gotta hate, how long until they turn on Klopp?
FSG are certainly not “shit owners”. That is ridiculous and knee-jerk. Conversely, they’re not “fantastic owners” either. That would be overly positive and also a bit silly. They are good owners, average.6/7 out of 10 owners but that’s much better than what we had previously.