“I was always clear from the beginning that I wanted to come here and I want to thank everyone who understood what my desire was.

“It was always my dream to come to Barca. It was a unique opportunity and the contract is for five years.

“I want to thank everybody, I am living a dream …,” the world second most expensive players said at his unveiling in front of thousands of fans at the Nou Camp.

His statement was similar to those made by the duo of Javier Mascherano and Luis Suarez when they joined the four time European champions in 2010 and 2014 respectively.

The so called dream move statement was made when Lord Bendtner joined Nottingham Forest, and when the village people called him back home to play for Rosenborg.

And ahead of Coutinho’s supposedly debut in the Copa del Rey match against local rivals Espanyol, spotkick.com.ng takes a look at the biggest winners and losers of his move to Barcelona.

Winners

Brazil

After his failed move to Barcelona in the summer, the former Inter Milan player was spotted crying after scoring a goal in the 2-0 World Cup qualifier win against Ecuador in September, last year. And after the game, compatriot Neymar, who he was billed to replace at Barca affirmed that ‘Coutinho lives in a very great sadness.’

And with the World Cup billed for the summer, the Selecao need the heart of their best players to be put together. Coutinho-Neymar combo will be a nightmare for any backline at the World Cup.

Barcelona

Aftermath of Neymar’s £222m move to PSG, which was followed by a 5-1 aggregate humbling in the Spanish Super Cup in the hands of rival Real Madrid, the Blaugrana looked lost and seemed they’ve been exiled from one of football super power clubs and that prompted Pique to say he felt inferior with the club.

The defender said then, “This is a long process and there is room for improvement but in the nine years that I have been here, it is the first time I feel inferior to Madrid.”

Runs of games that have seen Barcelona undefeated yet in the 2017-18 campaign is a statement, but the arrival of Coutinho at the club is a more statement.

Liverpool

Getting £142m for a player who has his heart away from the club is a fair deal on the part of Liverpool. Secondly, prior to his departure, Salah has shown to be the most important player. Liverpool will surely rue their chance of Coutinho leaving the club, but his departure won’t have much effect like that of Suarez on the club – as the likes of Salah, Mane and Firmino has popped up in recent times.

Chamberlain

The £35m summer signing from Arsenal is arguably the biggest winner of the Coutinho’s move away from the Reds. The move will afford him more game time and will put him in a good level as he gets more game time ahead of expected summer rivals. Though Liverpool lost 1-0 to Swansea in their last game, the former Arsenal player showed glimpses of what he is capable of in Liverpool’s first game without Coutinho against Man City – as he scored the first of the four goals that saw The Reds defeated Man City 4-3 at Anfield.

Losers

Dembele

Unarguably, the former Dortmund player tends to be the biggest loser of Coutinho move to Barcelona. Signed for £105m in the summer to replace Neymar, Ousmane Dembele hasn’t really stamped his authority at the club – as series of injuries have prevented him for showcasing what made Barcelona placed over £100m on him. Coutinho arrival at the club tends to put more pressure on the Dembele as the fight for his position increases.

English League

Losing one of its best players to a Spanish club side again is a big blow for the English League as the league has suffered losing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Thiery Henry, Luka Modric, Cesc Fabregas and the likes to the duo of Real Madrid and Barcelona in the past. These signings have helped both Madrid and Barcelona reached unprecedented feat in the last 10 years – weakening how English club sides fare on the continent. Much is left to be seen on how the English club sides could on to their star players to sway away interest from Madrid and Barcelona. ( De Gea, Thibaut Courtois, Harry Kane, Hazard already on the radar).

Andres Iniesta 

Coutinho arrival at Barcelona poses a great threat to the 33-year-old La Masia product, who just signed a life contract with the club he joined since he was 12. Coutinho has been touted as the replacement for the ageing midfielder. No doubt Iniesta still has a lot in store, but the truth is Coutinho joining Barcelona will reduce Iniesta’s game time at the club.

Gerard Deulofeu

One of the signings to replace Neymar … (laugh in biningi). One does not need a soothsayer to know that the arrival of Coutinho at Barcelona will definitely facilitate Deulofeu’s move away from the club.

 Rakitic

Paulinho’s arrival at the club from China in the summer increased battle for starting spot in Barca’s midfield. With Busquet assured of a starting spot and Paulinho putting up excellent performance, if Ernesto Valverde chose fluidity over solidity for Barcelona in the midfield – deploying Coutinho in the attacking midfield position, Rakitic seems more like the sacrificial lamb.

Other Losers

Andres Gomes and Denis Suarez. spotkick reported that the latter said that no matter what he would always be in the market. With the arrival of Coutinho the future of both Gomes and Suarez seem to lie outside the Camp Nou.

Published in International Watch