• @darryl_geraghty

What will Coutinho bring to the Nou Camp?

So it’s finally done, £142 million later and it’s finally done, Barcelona have eventually gotten their man.

When news of the second biggest transfer in history broke on Saturday evening, the excitement amongst Cule’s everywhere was palpable. What immediately followed were questions of just how the playmaker will fit in at Camp Nou, with some suggesting the Brazilian wouldn’t make the first 11 or will have a disruptive effect on the unbeaten league leaders.

Lets take a look at the potential selection headache facing Ernesto Valverde and just how Philippe Coutinho will fit into the side going forward. The obvious answer is, assuming Barca continue in their more familiar formation of 4-3- 3, would be a direct replacement for Neymar on the left wing. But Valverde’s Barca so far this season by design or circumstance has tended to resort to a 4-4- 2, Messi & Luis Suarez being the front 2, when out of possession and a 3-4- 3 with the ball, Jordi Alba & Sergi Roberto push on, leaving Sergio Busquets as a make shift center half. New boy on the block suits both perfectly, although, out of possession he may need to get up to speed defensively but the left hand slot that will eventually be vacated by “Don” Andres was made for him and whatever time Coutinho has under the tutelage of one of the greatest midfielders of all time will no doubt take his game to the next level.

In the immediacy he can fill in as part of the front three and when needed, or when rotation is called for, will slot into the left of the three in the middle. At just 25, signing and type of player continues the attacking and exciting flair style synonymous with the Blaugrana.

There are many other benefits to the side signing a player of such quality and these skill sets and the one that jumps out, is the lightening of the creative work load on Lionel Messi. The little genius will have more time and space to get between the lines and do more damage closer to the oppositions area, as Coutinho could create from a deeper position, which was evident in the last Clasico when in the second half gaps began to open and Messi took full advantage creating an incredible 9 goal scoring chances for teammates.

Likely line-up (long term):

Ter Stegen, Sergi Robertp, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Busquets, Rakatic Coutinho, Demebele, Messi and Suarez. Great mix of experience, quality and formational flexibility

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