The reported transfer of Philippe Coutinho is encouraging news for Liverpool supporters.
The move to the Saints wasn't to be, though, as the BBC reported on Twitter that Coutinho looks to be moving to Anfield after all:
Liverpool have agreed an £8.5m deal for Inter Milan's 20-year-old Brazilian midfielder Philipe Coutinho.#bbcfootball— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 26, 2013
Ben Smith of the BBC reported that the player favored Liverpool over Southampton, which was likely the deciding factor. Before the supporters start running out and buying Coutinho shirts, the transfer is not yet official as Coutinho must first get a work permit.
He has failed to hold down a place in the Inter Milan starting XI this year. He's managed to make only three starts in Serie A, coming off the bench on seven occasions. It's a microcosm of how his entire career has been at the San Siro since moving from Vasco da Gama in 2010.
He moved on loan to Espanyol last January and managed to put on a very solid display, recording five goals and an assist in 16 appearances.
This is a very solid move all around, especially when compared to the transfer of Wilfried Zaha to Manchester United (h/t The Telegraph). Liverpool paid almost half the £15 million fee for Zaha to buy a midfielder of the same age who's played in both the Italian and Spanish first divisions.
The goal right now for the Reds is to finish in the top four. Coutinho alone won't make that possible, but neither would have any other player aside from maybe Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Coutinho is a much better option for the club's rebuilding stage than somebody like Wesley Sneijder. Before moving to Galatasaray, the Dutchman was rumored to be a target of Liverpool (h/t Steve Bates of the Daily Mirror).
Sneijder is a better player now, but Liverpool aren't a Champions League club with him in the side. Next season the Reds would have been stuck in maybe the Europa League paying £90,000 to £100,000 a week to a midfielder who has been declining for the past season-and-a-half.
Much like most of the this team, Coutinho is still growing as a footballer. His peak years are still down the road. He can get in there now and start building that chemistry that is necessary for a style like Brendan Rodgers uses to thrive on the pitch
Tactics could be a bit of an issue at first, though the club will benefit in the long run. It would be very different if Liverpool brought in another central midfielder, since the Reds already have plenty of those.
Coutinho plays in a much more advanced position, where Steven Gerrard was at his best. Gerrard can no longer excel when sitting in behind the striker, so Coutinho has little competition in that regard. His creativity is also something wholly unique to what the Reds have in the midfield as well.
Just because Daniel Sturridge has already arrived doesn't mean Coutinho can't play a role, either. In order to be successful across multiple competitions, a club needs to have a deep squad.
Liverpool is getting there with the imminent signing of Coutinho.