The long-running saga of Coutinho was finally brought to an end earlier on Monday when Barcelona paraded their club-record signing – with Philippe Coutinho becoming the third most expensive player in history. Barcelona will pay Liverpool an estimated €120million up front – with a further €40million in incentives and add-ons – meaning only Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have cost more in the history of the game.
However, the arrival of the 25-year-old may force Ivan Rakitic out of the club. The Croatia international has been a regular ever since arriving from Sevilla in the summer of 2014, helping Barcelona win two La Liga titles as well as the Champions League in that time.
However, Diario Gol claims that Liverpool are interested in snapping up Rakitic after selling Coutinho. The report also suggests that Arsenal are also eager to strike a deal for the Croatian star, while Serie A champions Juventus remain keen to sign the midfielder at the end of the season.
Barcelona’s other midfielders have been in fine form this season, with summer signing Paulinho impressing the most. Andreas Iniesta continues to excel despite nearing the twilight of his career, while Sergio Busquets remains a vital cog in the Barcelona engine room.
That leaves Rakitic’s future uncertain at Camp Nou following the arrival of Coutinho. The 29-year-old is supposedly open to a move away but will only consider his options after the World Cup, which kicks off in June in Russia. However, speaking of Coutinho’s deal, Rakitic has suggested Barcelona may have overpaid for the Brazilian playmaker.
“My opinion doesn’t matter, but the price has gone a bit high, that’s what the market dictates,” Rakitic was quoted as saying by Marca.”
“Every great player is welcome here. I congratulate the president and everyone else who made it possible for him to be here. He is one of the family now, we are going to enjoy him a lot, he’s now at the biggest club in the world.”
Coutinho will not be eligible to feature in the Champions League this season but will boost Barca’s bid for a domestic double, with the Catalans leading Atletico Madrid by 9 points at the top of La Liga.
“We are happy another player has joined us, one who is among the very best. Obviously, he can’t play in the Champions League, but we already knew that. He will help us in LaLiga and hopefully the Copa del Rey, but we must give him time to settle,” he noted.
I feel that Rakitic would be a good signing for us in the event of Emre Can’s departure. What’s your opinion?