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How Coutinho overcame his setbacks to become Barcelona's record buy

How Coutinho overcame his setbacks to become Barcelona's record buy
From ESPN - January 6, 2018

What on earth must Inter Milan be thinking at the moment?

They identified the special talent of Philippe Coutinho before the Brazilian attacking midfielder had even turned professional. They bought him in 2008, when he was 16, and had to wait two years to take him across the Atlantic. But after all of this scouting work and the investment of time and money, they effectively gave up on him.

After three disappointing Serie A seasons -- 28 league appearances and three goals; 47 games and five goals in all competitions -- they sold him on to Liverpool for, in the terms of today's market, the price of a banana. The Premier League club have made an extraordinary profit, acquiring a player for 8.5 million, getting five good years out of him and selling him on in a deal that brings them, after all the add-ons, a reported, and scarcely credible, 133.5 million more than they paid.

Inter, meanwhile, have neither the player nor the money. How could this have happened? How can it be that a player valued so highly in 2018 was discarded in 2013?

Some have argued that Coutinho's failure to shine with Inter is predominantly a tactical question, that Italian opponents were better at denying him space, which he found in abundance when he made the move to England.

There may be something in this. But it is surely also arguable that the change in form and fortune has at least as much to do with psychological factors. A timid young man needed to feel sufficiently confident to reveal the full range of his talent. Thrown into the deep end in Serie A, perhaps he was not mentally prepared for the challenge, left without the necessary support to make the transition from promise to reality.

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