Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho could be close to proving Liverpool’s future transfer advantage
Remarkably, almost eight years ago Luis Suárez packed his bags for the Camp Nou. As such, almost nine years have passed since Steven Gerrard’s famous intervention dissuaded the Uruguayan from pushing for a move to Arsenal in the summer of 2013. Fast forward to the present day, and sort of Liverpool reunion could be on the cards – with Gerrard’s powers of persuasion returning to the fore.
Aston Villa have led the race to land Suárez on a free transfer, according to Spanish outlet Fichajes, with his stay at Atlético Madrid coming to an end. Undoubtedly, it would be a coup made possible solely by the identity of the coach, with Gerrard now in charge. The same can be said of the deal to make Philippe Coutinho’s stay permanent, a move which was finalized in the last few days.
Still, the former Liverpool captain will have to fend off some competition if he is to overtake at the Anfield meeting. A sensational return to Barcelona for Suárez has been announced, while Sevilla and Inter Milan have also been mentioned in the frame. With European football on offer in one of these destinations, it’s a tough sell for Aston Villa.
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If Gerrard succeeds in luring Suárez to Villa, it will be a big statement about his personal drawing power. Quite simply, there’s no way the Midlands side will win a transfer race against any of the other teams mentioned. The owners are certainly far from short of cash, but even Newcastle are yet to land a signing of this caliber.
Now 35, there’s a whole other conversation about the relative merits of signing Suárez, and if FSG see Gerrard as a potential successor to Jürgen Klopp, they won’t be seduced by a transfer policy that seems to revolve around aging former teammates. But Liverpool must be careful not to overlook another more positive lesson.
Ignoring the wisdom of every transfer, bringing Coutinho and Suárez to Villa Park would be a remarkably unlikely feat. Yes, the Liverpool connection is relevant, but there is a broader point about players wanting to play under Gerrard.
This is an effect that will only be more pronounced when it comes to recruiting from midfield. A generation of gamers grew up idolizing him, or at the very least grudgingly acknowledging his genius. Klopp has immense drawing power due to his reputation as a coach; Gerrard proves he could possibly replicate that at Liverpool, relying mainly on his reputation as a player.
It’s just a minor factor among a sea of more important considerations, and Gerrard will have to develop his reputation as a nascent manager a lot if he even wants to step into the frame as Klopp’s replacement. The Liverpool manager has probably done him a favor in that regard by extending until 2026. But the lure of the transfer market cannot be dismissed out of hand.
Naturally, Liverpool have a pretty strong inherent appeal. Apart from being a historic club, they are currently one of the best teams in the world, and Klopp has a good chance of blessing his eventual successor with a similar situation. But FSG shop in markets reserved for big teams, and so any marginal gain that can provide a transfer advantage is welcome.
While Suárez and Coutinho are the more eye-catching names, Gerrard punched above his weight in the transfer market while also at Rangers. Steven Davis, while again falling into the aging category, was an established name in the Premier League before moving north of the border. Using the Liverpool connection, Ryan Kent was a coup. The manager is a unique selling point for potential signings.
It remains to be seen whether this is the best solution to replace the “Klopp effect” at Liverpool. There are still far too many unknowns in terms of Gerrard as manager – questions he will seek to answer between now and 2026. The presence of Coutinho and potentially Suárez in the ranks should certainly help him make an impression at Villa Park over the years. seasons to come, one that could ultimately pave the way for a return to Anfield.