Inter Milan: Why Did the Nerazzurri Sell Coutinho to Liverpool?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJanuary 30, 2013

Inter Milan: Why Did the Nerazzurri Sell Coutinho to Liverpool?

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    Why did Inter Milan sell Philippe Coutinho to Liverpool? It’s inconceivable that the Nerazzurri would give up on a footballer with world-class ability.  

    This article will look at the possible reasons why the Italian club opted to say arrivederci to him.

    Inter have agreed an £8.5 million transfer fee with the Reds, according to Ben Smith at BBC Sport.

Selling Coutinho to Fund the Transfer of Paulinho

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    Having sold Wesley Sneijder to Galatasaray for €10 millionInter Milan will receive another €10 million [£8.5 million] for Coutinho's departure to Liverpool. 

    Sky Sport Italia (via Football Italia) believe Massimo Moratti will use the €20 million to meet Paulinho's buyout clause at Corinthians

    Italian football commentator Riccardo Trevisani told Sky (via that giving away Sneijder and Coutinho in order to sign Paulinho was excessive.

    Inter now have a quandary from a PR perspective because Paulinho wants to stay in Brazil (via ESPN FC):

    The offer was good but sometimes you have to forget about the money. A good financial proposal doesn't mean you'll get to do a lot of things. There are times when you have to think about your career.

    I lead a very calm life and have all the conditions to do good work here at Corinthians and one of the reasons for me to stay was to return to the national team.

    I made my decision, along with my family, to stay at Corinthians.

    The Nerazzurri compensated by going for Stuttgart's Zdravko Kuzmanovic, according to Sky Sports.

    Kuzmanovic, who played in Serie A with Fiorentina, has essentially forced Stuttgart to sell him after he told the club he'd run down his contract (PA Sport via

    He is the type of midfielder that floats around and is always looking to be in possession of the ball due to his accurate passing ability.

    To an extent, it makes up for his inability to prolifically win back possession.

    To be linked with Paulinho but end up with Kuzmanovic is hugely underwhelming for Inter

    — Tim Palmer (@timhpal) January 30, 2013

    Stuttgart's Zdravko Kuzmanović has completed a €2mil transfer to Inter. One bench to another, I'd imagine.

    — Stefan Bienkowski (@SBienkowski) January 30, 2013

Andrea Stramaccioni Prefers Fredy Guarín

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    In Andrea Stramaccioni's 3-4-1-2 formation, the two wide players in the "4" are wing-backs, which means Coutinho wasn't going to start in a wide attacking midfield role as he had done on loan for Espanyol.

    Stramaccioni prefers Fredy Guarín as the "1", despite the fact the Colombian loses possession 56 percent of the time when he attempts a dribble, isn't a true trequartista and converts a dismal 9.8 percent of his chances in front of goal. 

    What Guarín offers is high pressing, dynamic runs and a level of physicality that Coutinho doesn't possess. 

What the Transfer of Coutinho Means to Inter Milan and Liverpool

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    Inter Milan

    Nerazzurri supporters in the past have used the "What if...he stayed?" angle when it comes to former Inter players like Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, Dennis Bergkamp, Enzo Scifo, Robbie Keane and Roberto Carlos. 

    Coutinho, Mario Balotelli and Marko Arnautović will join that list in a decade. 

    What will irk Inter fans even more is that the transfer fees received from Wesley Sneijder and Coutinho will be used to fund bit-part players like Ezequiel Schelotto and Zdravko Kuzmanović. 

    If it stays like this then Inter have made the worst mercato since I can remember & I've been following Inter since 1989. /Nima

    — SempreInter (@SempreIntercom) January 29, 2013

    Coutinho is only 20 years old. He has loads of time to live up to the hype. 

    His loan spell at Espanyol showcased his trickery, his creativity and his near-perfection of the La Croqueta move.

    If Andrea Stramaccioni didn't agree with Massimiliano Allegri's redefinition of what a trequartista is, Coutinho would probably still be at Inter. It was Kevin-Prince Boateng's powerful performances as a faux-No. 10 through parts of last season that convinced Stramaccioni to play Fredy Guarín in a more advanced role this season.

    The Colombian fits into Andrea's philosophy of every single outfielder gunning for the ball, which is why his Inter Milan side lead Serie A in tackles per game (26.7).


    With Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suárez operating centrally, Coutinho will be used as a wide attacking midfielder, which is a position he played at Espanyol. 

    Former manager Mauricio Pochettino (the current Southampton boss) mainly started Coutinho on the left, giving the Brazilian a green light to shoot on sight and the freedom to impact the game in any way, shape or form. 

    It's a good punt from the Reds, who are hoping Brendan Rodgers can bring the best out of Coutinho.

    One thing Stuart Pearce has learned over the years is that you shouldn't make brash predictions when it comes to players with world-class ability, as he found out with Dennis Bergkamp. 

    Coutinho has the potential to be a world-class footballer at Anfield. 

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    Statistics courtesy of and Squawka 


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