Philippe Coutinho: Inter Milan Midfielder Worth Hefty Price Tag for Liverpool

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 02:  Coutinho of FC Inter Milan in action during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and US Citta di Palermo at San Siro Stadium on December 2, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Philippe Coutinho isn't just a catalyst for a top four-finish this season. The Inter Milan playmaker would become a staple in the Liverpool midfield for years. 

After Aston Villa and Southampton raised the stakes, the 20-year-old Brazilian is still worth a deal even higher than $8 million.

Here’s the latest on Liverpool’s pursuit of the Inter talent, according to BBC’s Ben Smith:

@jzrenz #LFC have had one bid for Coutinho rejected (about £6.5m). Further talks over past 24hrs but no breakthrough. Inter want £9-10m

— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) January 22, 2013

Coutinho has endured ups and downs since coming over to Serie A, full of injuries and ridiculous expectations.

Also, the blanketing defense that inhabit the Italian league have rendered him a turnover-prone player, but that won't be the same defensive scheme he'll see in the Premier League.

Through all of that, he has become a difference maker in his 10 caps this season. While he may not be ready for full-time duty in the Reds' midfield, he will be a worthy substitute for some instant opportunities and a few starts to spell the usual suspects.

Liverpool needs creativity in the middle third to push the ball down the field. Barring unforeseen injuries, Coutinho has all the indications of a Premier League regular doing exactly that.

The Brazilian has the skills to play in the central midfield or assist as a second striker out wide.

This Coutinho signing isn't just for the 2013 season, but for the extended future. The Reds considered a move for Wesley Sneijder, who’s ready to play right now, but doesn’t offer much in future years considering his price tag.

Coutinho has the ability and potential to be a future star, hence why Inter rejected Liverpool's initial evaluation of $6.7 million. Whether he'll affect the game next week, in a year, or a few years is the true mystery.

If his name signs on the dotted line, it will be money well spent eventually.