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Phillipe Coutinho Is this signing a statement of intent from Barcelona?

Is the Brazilian midfield maestro's switch to Barcelona a response to Neymar's departure?

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Philippe Coutinho play Barcelona fans are happy with the clubs recent addition (AFP/File)

The signing of Brazilian play maker Philippe Coutinho by Barcelona is a statement from the club that they would not be bullied in the transfer market following the unceremonious departure of his compatriot Neymar in the summer.

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.

Philippe Coutinho play The signing of Coutinho despite his unavailability in the champions league is a statement by Barca (AFP/File)

 

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.

Philippe Coutinho play Barca fans are as delighted as Coutinho over the switch (Andy Hooper/Daily Mail)

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.

The arrivals of Nelson Semedo, Paulinho Berreza, and Ousmane Dembele did little to reassure Barcelona supporters as a deal for Coutinho broke down on the summer.

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.

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