Search icon


04th Aug 2017

Michael Owen could end up regretting his Philippe Coutinho prediction

Are you sure about that, mate?

Robert Redmond

Big call.

It’s that time of the year when Premier League predictions are made, and they can easily make fools of us all. Two years ago, almost every football fan tipped Leicester City to be relegated. Nine months later they were champions and top of the league by 10 points.

Last summer, almost everyone expected the Premier League title race to be between Manchester United and Manchester City. United finished sixth and City ended up in third, 15 points behind champions Chelsea, who had finished 10th the previous year.

It’s one thing to predict where a team will finish in the league, it’s even more difficult to predict transfers, particularly in the current market. Most expected Antoine Griezmann to join United this summer. When that didn’t happen, they tipped Alvaro Morata to end up at Old Trafford and Romelu Lukaku to move back to Chelsea. Griezmann is still at Atletico Madrid, Lukaku is now at United, and Morata signed for Chelsea.

Neymar’s world record move to Paris Saint-Germain is the ultimate example of how difficult it is to predict transfers. A few months ago, no-one, least of all Barcelona, expected a club to trigger the Brazilian’s £198m release clause.

However, he’s now a PSG player and his transfer could have wider ramifications for several players in Europe, as Barcelona seek to fill the void in their forward line.

The Catalan club have been strongly linked with a move for Philippe Coutinho, and he could end up at Camp Nou as a replacement for his international teammate.

Although Liverpool have no intention of selling their best player, if he tells them he wants to leave, the club may be forced to let the Brazilian go.

It’s too soon to know for certain where Coutinho will be playing next season, so it’s probably unwise to make any predictions. Yet, Michael Owen seems pretty sure that the Brazilian will be at Anfield next season.

The former Liverpool and Manchester United striker reckons Coutinho won’t join Barcelona this summer, mostly because he signed a new five year contract back in January.

“The news going around Spain is obviously fuel to the fire if the Neymar deal goes ahead – the speculation becomes intensive (regarding a) Coutinho move,” Owen told Press Association Sport on Thursday, before Neymar’s transfer to PSG was confirmed.

“But he (Coutinho) was happy enough a short while ago to sign a long-term deal and since then the club have qualified for the Champions League and strengthened the team. I think they played a really good move in signing him to a long contract because if the worst came they would get a lot of money for him, but I don’t see it happening.

“Other than Coutinho not being happy I can’t see how there is going to be a deal. It’s inevitable that a lot of good players want to ply their trade in Spain but the situation with the length of contract has to count for something.”

Most Liverpool fans wouldn’t share Owen’s certainty.