Is the Brazilian midfield maestro's switch to Barcelona a response to Neymar's departure?
Not many clubs are a step above Barca in Europe, their four Champions League triumphs in 12 years are testaments to this. But let us rewind back to how Coutinho became a transfer target for the Spanish side.
In the summer of 2017, After watching arch-rivals Real Madrid lift the Spanish league and Champions league, the Barcelona board pencilled out Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Marco Verrati as a valuable addition to the side as legend Xavi said he has the “Barca DNA”.
Paris Saint-Germain with Champions league aspirations were able to hold on to their key player, but things took a twist when the disgruntled heir apparent to Lionel Messi, Neymar felt it was his time to shine and made advances to leave Camp Nou.
Barcelona never wanted to lose a key component of their attacking force, but Neymar's mind was made up and Paris Saint-Germain capitalised, activating his release clause, and for the first time in a long while Barcelona was bullied in the transfer market.
This also coincided with Messi holding out on a new contract and the elite teams perceived Barcelona to be vulnerable.
Given they hold a healthy nine point gap over second place Atletico Madrid and 16 points ahead of arch rivals Real Madrid, the signing of the Coutinho for an exorbitant amount in the January transfer window, knowing fully well he would not be a part of the Champions league team is a show of strength by the Spanish side, as they could easily wait till the summer.