Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has told Football.London that it's difficult to keep key players, after Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.
Coutinho was a major target for Barcelona over the summer after Neymar's world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain, but Liverpool managed to fend off the Catalan giants and keep their star playmaker at Anfield.
The 25-year-old has put the speculation behind him this season, smashing 12 goals and eight assists in 20 appearances in all competitions, but he is now leaving Merseyside.
As reported by BBC Sport, Barcelona have now agreed a huge £142million deal to sign Coutinho, and he should be presented as a Barca player in the coming days.
The Brazilian has got the move he seemingly wanted all along, and Liverpool are left to deal with losing a key player in the middle of the season, with manager Jurgen Klopp now eyeing up replacements.
Pochettino has told Football.London that the deal sums up how difficult it is to keep players, as even the world's biggest clubs sometimes have to sell when players want to go.
Pochettino – who actually managed Coutinho at Espanyol – added that it's important to 'work on the human side' in a bid to make players feel comfortable, but it's ultimately difficult to keep hold of star players.
“I think it’s a massive example to see how this business of football is and how difficult it is for a club to keep a player,” said Pochettino. “Liverpool are one of the biggest clubs in the world and look at what happens when someone like Coutinho wants to go and what you can do. Same as Ronaldo in Manchester United, Zidane in Juventus. It’s so difficult when a player says they want to go.”
“It’s so important to work on the human side with players and then provide the player and the club, the team with an exciting moment and build a project that they feel comfortable to be with you. Today when the player decides to leave here’s what happened when the club pays the type of money for them. It’s so difficult, our job,” he added.