The January transfer window is open and it’s already been a record-breaker. Former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho is officially a Barcelona player after finally completing his long-awaited move to the Nou Camp.
Coutinho’s £142m move to the Nou Camp made him the second-most-expensive player in history after Neymar who cost €222million. 25-year-old Coutinho is world-class, but just not £142 million world-class.
Barcelona could have signed similar players for lesser the amount. Now let’s take a look at 5 such players who could fit Coutinho’s position and are not expensive at all.
5. Thomas Lemar – AS Monaco [Winger]
The Frenchman might be left-footed, but would have been a player for Barcelona in the Philippe Coutinho mould. The Monaco star could have easily slotted as the left-sided midfielder in a 3-man midfield and provide both directness and creativity from there.
According to Monaco’s valuation, Lemar would have cost £90m, which is a lot less than what the Catalans paid for the Brazilian star.
4. Riyad Mahrez – Leicester City [Winger]
Riyad Mahrez would not have been a big-name signing like Coutinho. But when it comes to ability, we have all seen what the Algerian could do. He led a not-so-glamorous Leicester City side to an unprecedented league win two years ago.
The Algeria international was awarded as the PFA Player of the Year that acknowledged his contribution. These are achievements that Philippe Coutinho doesn’t have so far.
3. Leon Goretzka – Schalke 04 [Midfielder]
Leon Goretzka might not be as direct as Coutinho is. But when it comes to making plays from the middle, he is perhaps better than the Brazilian.
Goretzka’s contract will end by the conclusion of this season. This means that Barcelona could have gotten him for next to almost nothing. The German is now rising up the ranks and could actually be a first-choice member of the Germany team at the World Cup.
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