Coutinho, Van Dijk, Keita and hypocrisy

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Are Leipzig a bigger club than Liverpool? How can they reject a 70 million euro bid from one of the most decorated clubs in the world?

Cue the next bit of Liverpool ranting on Twitter.

Are Leipzig Barcelona a bigger club than Liverpool? Why should Liverpool accept a 70 million euro bid from one of the most decorated clubs in the world?

What does that reek of? There is only one word, hypocrisy.

Over the past couple of weeks, Liverpool fans have exulted and despaired at every little development in the saga involving Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk. Virgil van Strijk, one tweet read.

But why or how is that constructive, funny or anything other than stupid? We loved it when Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino said van Dijk had asked for a move, and was training alone.

Remember 2010? Remember a certain Argentine no. 20? Remember a game away at the Etihad stadium, under a boss who had little to no idea what he was doing? How did that end? It ended with Javier Mascherano being subject to ridicule and hatred, because he hadn’t respected the club, and thought that he was bigger than Liverpool Football Club.

Southampton are definitely not a bigger name than Liverpool. But they are a well-established side in English football. Why would they feel any different about their captain holding them to ransom with such tantrums?

And the reason why their captain is throwing such tantrums is not solely Southampton’s fault? Who messed things with an apology (pun intended) of a PR exercise, which eventually ended in tears? Yes, it was the football club that we so love.

Diego Demme was earlier this evening clattered into by Keita. What was the first reaction among Liverpool fans to that? “Naby is frustrated”, “Leipzig should give him the move he wants”. No they aren’t obliged to do that. If anything, why should they not be tempted, if the tackle was a sign of frustration, to put their foot down and say he’s not going anywhere?

Now that Barcelona are courting our best player, imagine this. Coutinho gets tackled by Sadio Mane. And as revenge, the little fellow clatters into Mane, bruising his knee? What would the reaction be? Would anyone want Coutinho to get his way after that?

The reality is that in this day and age, the dream move for any footballer is to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona. But would fans tolerate it if another player threw a tantrum to move to Spain?

I needn’t even go as far as Mascherano. Raheem Sterling was the greatest talent to come out of our academy in a long, long time, and anyone would’ve loved to keep him. But what was the reaction to the fact that he wanted the move to Man City?

As a gist, Liverpool fans wanted the club to move Sterling on as soon as possible, so that there was no more “poison” at the club.

Will we do that if Coutinho demands a move to Barcelona (the likelihood of which, I’m not speculating about)? Will we tolerate FSG after the club has sold our best player?

So why should Southampton do that with Van Dijk? Why should Leipzig do that with Keita?

I know it is an inherent trait in a football fan to want his club to have the best of players, but sometimes it is good to sit back and think about things. Then, the hypocrisy might become clear.

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  1. Couple of things.. Lfc 5 european cups barca have my opinion lfc have more fans or same as than any other club. Who does those surveys anyway. Keita and v v d have said they want to join lfc. Coutinho said he wants to stay. Mascherano never told us he was leaving as did torres and gave us no time for a back up. Sterling is a little snake and you know it. In 3 years time when messi retires la liga will revert back to just another league. Attendances across the league continue to drop. Whilst the premier league continues to grow. It must be tough for smaller clubs to hang to players but it is up to those clubs to grow their fan base so they can afford to keep such talent. Dont forget southampton tapped up v v d when he was at celtic. Dont fall in to the media hype that lfc are acting badly. That is just anti lfc bullshit. Man utd owe 720m but nothing is said of this. Their debt has risen for the last 8 years. They claim to have massive income streams. I smell bullshit. Imagine if lfc owed that ammount ..SSN would be camped outside anfield

  2. Absolutly spot on article. This is so right and its so nice to actually have a liverpool supporting section to be so honest. Im a Southampton supporter and had to comment on here and say well said.

  3. I fully echo Ben’s comment above. A well balanced article. If I were a Liverpool supporter my first thought would be that a player who downs tools to get to us could also do the same when he wants to leave us.

  4. Unfortunately it’s the way football works. Everyone wants the best for their club, but I think there needs to be curbs on tapping up and ‘free’ commenting in the press which add fuel especially by clubs’ ex so called professionals

  5. I’m a Southampton fan of 40 years, as I’m now heading fast towards 50! I can remember the golden years of Liverpool, especially the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s. Back then, I’d say the majority of English football fans jumped up with delight when Alan Kennedy banged that penalty into the net in Rome ( apart from United and a few fans of other teams as well ). For me, historically Liverpool will always be up their with Real Madrid as the biggest club in Europe. I would say that although it would appear that the club may have crossed the line regarding these player approaches, football has become a bit of a Hypocrytical Circus. Levy not happy about inflated transfer fees…. But insisted on £90 million for Bale, and Walker was going nowhere for under £50 million. David Gold and West Ham fans up in arms about Payet not honouring his contract, but doing somersaults when signing Arnautovic under similar circumstances. I’m sure somewhere down the line my team have done something similar too!

  6. I don’t really get your point.
    Are you saying we should be mad that Keita and Van Dijk are trying to force a move to Liverpool because they’re disrespecting their fans?
    No one is blaming their fans for getting angry at their players for wanting to leave. We’ve been there and we know what it’s like.
    But who cares if that means those players are joining us?

  7. I’m a Spur but I thought this was excellent. Some fans of many clubs – but especially Liverpool – are often blind to hypocrisy. Sadly the EPL brand industry & its media parasites foster the delusion that only 6 clubs matter & many fans believe the guff & claim a player is being held back usually because they are playing regularly at a so-called smaller team rather than sitting on the bench for one of the big boys (Delph, Chamberlain, Shaw etc.). And frankly VVD has behaved disgracefully as did Modric & Bale at my own club. It is, alas, difficult to see this pattern changing because of the greed, myopia & self-intetest fostered by SKY & the EPL.

  8. The Hypocracy bandwagon, poor writing and jumping the gun based on other media articles with no foundation. players careeers are short in reality at 10-15 years and can’t be blamed for wanting to achieve as much as they can in that time. Keita and van dike “want” to leave and therefore a club should to some extent respect those wishes providing they can negotiate an acceptable price, as we did with sterling. But let’s be clear, coutinho has not said he wants to leave, only recently he made clear being a number at Barca is not as attractive to him as being a star at Liverpool. Until he actually says he wants to leave then rejecting bids is not hypocritical, especially when they are not of fair value. In today’s market of neymar 192m, and mbappe 130m, he is worth double the 72m Barca offered. Keita and van dikes 60-70m valuations are way overpriced and therefore more than fair offers. Southampton are never going to make champs league, so it is a step up, and yes Barca could be a step up for coutinho, but it isn’t beyond the imagination for him to believe he could win things at Liverpool.

  9. I’ll try and make it simple for u Ali. Most football fans are hypocritical, they don’t like the fact that their best players may want to better themselves. But are more than happy when good players want to join their clubs. Just confirming the Hypocrisy of it all. Comprehend?

  10. I am a Liverpool fan for the past 30 years and i kind of have to agree with the author. As like many other fans, i want the best for my club but at what expense? Frankly i am sick and tired of that 2 Spanish circus clubs cherry pick the best players not just from LFC but from other English clubs. For once i want FSG to tell, F**k off, go play with your self, our best players are not for sale and if they throw a tantrum, they would be in cold storage. Having said that we have to respect other clubs, either we agrees to their price or we look elsewhere.
    More importantly this highlights the failure of our scouts and academy as players like VvD and Keita did not just pop up now, they did a couple of years ago, where were our scouts then? As for the academy so many players were deemed “promising ” the new Gerrard or Carragher but none barring Sterling had made an impact on the first team. Noticed how many had been sold and loaned out.
    If our scouts and academy were of higher calibre, we would not be in this kind of drama with VvD and Keita

  11. Clubs like Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City in particular want clubs like Saints, West Ham etc… To buy players from less fashionable clubs for £15/20 million, have 2 good seasons at these clubs and then want to buy them for £30/35 million! If these clubs are not happy paying upwards of £60 million for these players, they should get their scouting networks in order!

  12. Chan…. the thing is that quite often the players you have brought in who have gone to Barca for instance, were good players when they joined u.

  13. A good article, wit the point well made. To cut to the chase, as a Southampton fan I accept that some of our better players will get approaches from ‘bigger clubs’ and that is always going to so. What concerns many fans is the duplicity of some of the players, e.g. VVD signing a 6 year contract with SFC a few months ago. Surely he must have considered that he may be approached by bigger clubs? Surely he must have asked “What happens if my dream move comes up before the end of my 6 year contract?”. The answer is that he (probably) was told, well we’ll let you go, but your selling price will be higher – and we ask a season’s grace to sort out your replacement. Rumour has it that this what happened, so SFC management and fans are understandably miffed over the current situation. Of course this has been compounded by the tapping up accusations and the relentless press coverage of the somewhat bogus ‘gossip’.

  14. I wholeheartedly agree with the article. I would go further to say that its really not OK to just accept that “that’s how football is”. Sometime I feel like our game has been hijacked. Liverpools owners need to recognise that if you buy a player that is willing to sign a new contract then go on strike in 6 months, you are buying a mercenary not a player that is going to play for the shirt. Maybe lack of team spirit is why they don’t look like challenging for the title.

  15. Your basing this piece on the emotion of the supporter, when the real issue is the employment rights of the employee.

    Name one Liverpool fan who would honestly expect Phil to be at Anfield in a month’s time if he come out and asked for a transfer directly – he would go and while we wouldn’t like it, we would accept it. And that is because we understand that Barcelona at this moment in time are operating on another level to Liverpool, further up the pecking order, so to speak. Well Liverpool are further up the pecking order than Southampton. They take players from clubs further down the line, do they not consider those clubs might want to keep their players? Take Mane for instance, didn’t Salzburg want to keep him? This is the hypocrisy.

    A player signs a contract for many reasons, economic, security for him and the club, and sometimes for personal reasons – but that does not make them a prisoner to the owners of the contract. What it should (and will in this case) provide is proper and fair compensation for the club if the player wants to leave, and likewise for the player if the club wants to move him on.

    To tell a player he cannot change employer despite the probability of that club receiving vast compensation is what is really unethical – he is an employee, not a prisoner. The inevitable outcome is the beginning of the end of fixed contracts. So careful what you wish for – clubs like Southampton that rely on transfer fees to keep them afloat would really struggle then.

  16. Southampton are big enough and their owners rich enough that they do not ‘rely on transfer fees to keep them afloat” . . . Are you really stupid enough to believe that Saints would struggle if you didn’t steal a few players each season? Tell me, how many of their players did you buy while they were en route to the premiership and not struggling?

  17. i think buy n selling players has become like buying vegetables in a village market,FIFA need to bring some laws n regulations for this matter,what i suggest, i know who cares, one month before a window open all teams who are concern with transfers must summit a prepared list of all players who wish to be in the transfer list with their initial price tag attached to it and send it to FIFA , even if they are under contract, so buy the any team who wish to buy a player from a particular team so he need to consult the list of the club if the wanting player is in the list or not,if no,no need to bother anybody,if yes agents and others clubs may involve too, then the player will have the veto to move where he wants, even if there is higher bidder of the initial price tag i think its the only way to satisfy all parties .

  18. in response to kloppite: Are you saying that contracts should only be honoured depending on the reasons for signing it? The shelf life of a professional footballer of 10 to 15 years is irrelevant, they are more than adequately compensated for this in wages, signing on fees, endorsements etc. I believe it comes down to integrity, don’t sign a contract if you’re likely to jump ship given the chance. Being a Saints fan for over 30 years I’m aware we survive and to an extent grow on player sales, but it should always be at the selling clubs discretion if the player is contracted. I object to ex players instigating strikes, newspapers interpreting behaviour as a desire to move and most of all, I hate the so called big clubs and fans (though not all ☺) having this sense of entitlement and belief that these players ‘belong’ at their club.

  19. Southampton’s owner is no longer with us, sadly, and the person who replaced him couldn’t give a toss about football – or so their fans like to say. They are no rich-man’s plaything, they are a middle-table club that finished 12 points above the relegation places. Their business model makes full use of transfer fees to keep them in the PL as does every club from Everton downwards. They do not have the earning power of a Man U. or a Liverpool, and in the view of your average player they do no have the prestige or draw of a Man U. Liverpool or an Arsenal. You are in cloud cuckoo land if you fail to see the point of view of a player that aspires to take a step up in his career. If Coutinho publicly stated that he wanted to move to Barcelona I would accept it, as would 99% of reds – suitable compensation forthcoming, of course. The problem with many Southampton fans, is that they seem to think Liverpool is not a step up because we are not winning trophies every year – Lol..

  20. To Mike Smith.

    What is a contract worth in any other workplace? Football is pretty unique in it’s enforcement of contracts and it’s only matter of time until somebody challenges it and it all comes crashing down. It won’t be the big clubs who suffer at this point it will be the smaller clubs who nurture a player with the expectation of receiving appropriate financial reward.
    VVD may have signed a long term contract, but he is not a prisoner, he is an employee, and if he leaves you stand to receive a whopping increase on your initial outlay – just as we will for Coutinho. You can then use that windfall to plunder smaller clubs for their talent, and they use it to plunder even smaller clubs of their talent. In my opinion this seems a pretty good way of ensuring money trickles downwards while keeping the PL attractive to TV companies and sponsors.
    It may seem unpalatable to us all, but if the PL was won by a Leicester every year, or even every other year, the money would soon dry up as the interest waned.

  21. Have to agree with kloppite Mike, no one should be a prisoner to a contract. The club show no loyalty to players they want to sell, players go from first team to the bench as better players are signed and get sold on, often having to take pay cuts in order to move to a club that will let them play regular football. The contract serves 2 purposes, 1 to compensate the player adequately and second to protect the clubs investment, if a player wants to go then they should be allowed to within the relative fair terms of a notice period to replace them and the club receiving a fair transfer fee. 70m for vvd is 30-40% above his fair valuation. Man Utd and Chelsea have signed centre backs at half the cost this year that will likely be just as good.

  22. Excellent article – thank you for an honest appraisal!
    I have supported Saints since 1978 and have no problems with the football player chain – but DO have a problem with a player that signs a 6 year Contract in May 2016 to make him possibly the best paid footballer in the Club’s history, and giving him the Captain’s armband, only for him to change Agent a few months later, and then read online that he was in contact with Liverpool, and possibly other Clubs, from about January 2017 ie before he was injured!! – there are ways to go about getting a transfer but this is just not acceptable which i guess is why Liverpool made the apology that they did.
    But, i would like to widen the discussion to include the ‘Agents’ of these footballers. It would appear that they are the people who are causing the most damage to the football transfer market as it would appear (if you believe the figures paid to the Agent in the Pogba transfer) that they are the ones that benefit most from advising ‘their client’ to move from club to club, and in the case of VvD, probably advising him to tell his Manager that he ‘was not available to play as he wanted a transfer’ making huge fees from the selling and buying club in the process. I think FIFA/UEFA/FA/PL should regulate the unregulated Agents and we might see some change.
    Also, the media – newspapers, online media and, especially Sky (who are happy to promote their own betting site on their pages!! ) don’t help with constant articles, almost daily, to unsettle players like VvD and others.

  23. Can’t agree with u David. The value of the player is what the club want for him. We take the risk of bringing these players to the Premier League, u can never be sure they will fit in. Osvaldo and Ramirez cost in access of £50 million, and were abject failures on the pitch and financially. Big clubs only want our players once they’ve proven themselves. These big clubs don’t compensate us if we get it wrong about a player, this they have to pay over the odds for the diamonds we find!

  24. This site is turning out to be my favorite. Every article is a perfect hit. Being a liverpool fan for about two decades now, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
    But as much as I’d love Coutinho to stay back, I have a gut feeling he’d leave this summer and if we end up without Coutinho and Keita it WILL BE A DISASTER NEXT SEASON.
    UNLESS ofcourse we end up signing Lanzini, i think he’d really make a great player.
    Either ways, after the racist comment from the Director of football, I don’t see Keita staying.
    In conclusive its wishful thinking to say I hope VVD, Keita and Coutinho all end up being team mates next season.
    But I still do hope… YNWA…

  25. Peter, 70m covers vvd, Osvaldo and Ramires with change left over. Do you seriously think 70m is not a fair price? Did soton honour the full duration of Osvaldo and Ramires contracts that they offered them?

  26. David. U say that Utd and Chelsea have signed centre backs for less money than us. And will likely be as good! Likekly? They buy most of their players from top clubs, we don’t. I’m not concerned about players contracts, I don’t have a problem with a player wanting to leave for a bigger club. But if u don’t like the price, keep your money in the bank.

  27. David. U take a punt on buying a house at auction, u may have all sorts of problems with certain things. U pay £100,000 for it, spend 2 years and another £100,000 on it. Do u sell it to someone for £300,000 or auction it to get the best price?

  28. I don’t mind the price, my point was 70m is a fair price for you, were happy to pay it. My point is what do you believe is the fair price if you compare to other CB values in today’s market?

    The earlier comments made about these fees propping up your club I don’t agree with either, all the prem is propped up by the TV money and it’s fair distribution, that bubble will burst some day and the whole league will be in trouble. Imagine if the 2 team la logs were forced to share the to money in a similar way… Barca and real would soon find it tough too.

    Last but not least the point that soton take the risks on players and the big clubs don’t is also tosh. Coutinho for 8m, Suarez relatively unheard of in holland till we signed him, emre can 10m, joe Gomes 3m, Robertson 8m, lago aspas 8m, markovic 20m, All were generally unheardofs when we bought them. Some successful some not so and taking losses on them.

  29. Fair enough point David, though u did say VVD reported price is 30/40 % above his true worth. Lukaku has all of a sudden become a world class player, not so much because of his fee, but because Man Utd have signed him.

  30. Agents – Kavan is right to raise the issue.

    As a Saints supporter I fully understand that Liverpool historically (by miles), and as a current team, are a step up.

    But VVD really is Real Madrid, Barcelona, or Bayern Munich level, true World level teams is where he should be looking for a next move.

    So why the push to Liverpool now ? The only answer is Agent fees.

    Not dissing Liverpool and what they have achieved of late. But this is a move that primarily looks after the agent, not the player.

    Football in general could really do with some medicine against these parasites.

  31. Quote above – Peter, 70m covers vvd, Osvaldo and Ramires with change left over. Do you seriously think 70m is not a fair price? Did soton honour the full duration of Osvaldo and Ramires contracts that they offered them?
    Yes, they did and it is confirmed by the annual Accounts if you want to see them at Companies House – a huge loss to the Club for what were – then – the successive most expensive signings of the /club.
    To be honest £70M is huge – but look at the Market and the sums the largest Clubs have, and are willing, to pay. Stones went the year before for £50M, personally not as good as VvD, and look at the cost of Full backs at over £50M eg Walker
    In my opinion, and I have read that saints will not listen to less than £75M the huge fee is the result of 2 things. 1 VvD (and probably his agent) reportedly actively talking to other Clubs not much more than 6 months after signing 6 year contract and his subsequent behaviour and 2 Liverpool trying to reduce the price / avoiding a bidding war with Chelsea / Man City with all the highly placed and sustained media / previous player comments posted daily that VvD only wants Liverpool – to the extent that the Liverpool media, including their Echo, were so confident they would get him and caused the ‘tapping up’ report.
    I am sure there would have been a verbal agreement that you can go one/two years later – as with Schneiderlin and Wanyama – but not 6 months after signing a new Contract!!
    And don’t forget – NO ONE, especially Liverpool, has yet actually submitted a written bid for the player, VvD, as has been the case with Keity and Coutinho.

  32. If the boy is a success in 2-3 years and then says he wants to go then fair play, but to of been a real success we would be hoping he was at a level comparable to rose, walker, clyne etc… if that were the case we would be asking a similar fee to those which is around 50m looking at today’s market. (And obvs we would tell Utd to go get f*cked and sell to anyone but them)

  33. Ok.. Liverpool fans seem to think that Saints fans are being hypocritical regarding VVD but this is what they don’t get: Liverpool and its host of “legends” have been part of a media onslaught to destabilise our club captain. Further to that they have agreed personal terms with the player with even contacting Southampton FC. Further to that they briefed the media to the effect that VVD was signing for them. But most importantly they haven’t even made a bid!

    Its not about Liverpool wanting to buy VVD. Its about Jamie Carragher saying the only person that should be ashamed is the person that blabbed! Liverpool’s conduct is what is being questioned here.

    The only event even remotely similar was when we purchased Mane from Salzburg when he went on strike, but at the time he was being linked with Man City! It would be live Chelsea suddenly signing VVD. I didn’t like it then because I didn’t like the idea of buying a less than scrupulous mercenary and was proved right when he kicked up as fuss to move to Liverpool.

    Liverpool ARE a bigger club, its stupid to suggest otherwise but fundamentally they are acting like a millionaire in The Ivy trying to get his meal free buy pleading “don’t you know who I am” at the waiter.

  34. I think we Liverpool should be content of what we get for the coming season!
    The premier league and the motor way users be warn as Mohamed Sallah will be cress-crossing along the M25 as the English football fields will not be able accommodate his running speedy!

  35. Honestly I don’t mind one bit if Coutinho wants to move to Barcelona. If he wants to leave then we should let him go and thank him for the effort that he put into playing for Liverpool. A club shouldn’t keep a player that wants to leave.
    That’s why I don’t understand why southampton doesn’t want to sell van dijk and why Red bull don’t want to sell Keita.
    I do however disagree with what Liverpool are saying with the whole coutinho situation. “he is not for sale” they say while pushing for two moves from clubs with the exact same standpoint.
    I don’t like the coutinho to Barcelona move because from what I see it seems like Barcelona just want him there as a “toy” to keep Neymar happy. I also don’t feel like he will be able to develop as much and get as much game time as he will at Liverpool… but hey if he wants to leave then it is his decision.

  36. I totally agree & get this, the author is spot on but I think all this is because of the transfer culture these days, every year the money seems to go up massively caused by rich clubs (man city man utd & Chelsea) paying much more than players are worth even sometimes not needing them so they don’t play batsuwayi for example pushing up wages turning players heads! Money money money but if a players head is turned best sell him & if he’s been a big star it’s hard but it’s no reason to turn against the player! Coutiniho will do right thing & like Suarez give another year & then make sure Liverpool get as much as possible & will be remembered as a great! Southampton & Leipzig are gonna give in but will make us wait as long as possible & pay over the odds but they don’t want unsettled players anymore than we do!

  37. Ok David, so now Coutinho has asked Liverpool to let him go to Barca today I guess you are completely fine with it?

    If Liverpool had actually bid £70m for VVD I’m sure this would all be over by now, but they haven’t and are trying to force it through cheap, so I guess you are also completely fine with Barca unsettling Coutinho and then getting him on the cheap when he refuses to play for you?

  38. Hypocrisy is right here at ‘Anfield Index’, I wonder when your site is writing for LFC and at the same time promoting articles that promote sentiments that’s against it. As far as transfers and retaining players are concerned it’s always done keeping in mind club’s betterment. Bringing in VVD and Keita strengthens us as does retaining our little magician Coutinho. So IMO no tactic is unfair if it is used for us.

  39. This is the worst article I have ever come across on AI! All the southampton fans praising this article are equally hypocritical as the writer. Firstly LFC has never held their players against their will(Except for suarez only because arsenal put in a dusgracefull bid).If we were not cherry picked by the two european giants and mancs then we would have had a world class team by now. And so it applies to southampton. This is how football has been and will be unless they change the rules drastically like introducing draft system like nba. So what rb leipzig and soton are doing is either pure greed or acting like bullies. Players came and players left. It doesnt matter. No one is bigger than the club. Give a valuation for your unhappy player, LFC man up and pay that amount! End of the story!

  40. Progue… That’s the point, makes me laugh when everyone keeps saying he’s worth this and he’s worth that. The player is worth what the club decide they want for him.


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