The Philippe Coutinho sale continues to haunt Inter and if the former Nerazzurri leaves Liverpool for Barcelona in a €120m this summer, Inter will not see any money from the sale because they did not include a sell-on clause when they sold Coutinho to Liverpool in 2013.
“It was a great regret for me to have to sell him — perhaps one of my greatest regrets in over 20 years at Inter,” sporting director Piero Ausilio told ESPN FC in January.
Inter believe they are only in line to receive a very small percentage of any transfer fee, if Coutinho completes a move to a club in another country, under FIFA’s solidarity mechanism.
Article 21 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players states: ”
If a professional is transferred before the expiry of his contract, any club that has contributed to his education and training shall receive a proportion of the compensation paid to his former club [solidarity contribution].”
The solidarity payment amounts to just five percent of the agreed transfer fee.
The buying club withholds the five percent of the fee and then distributes it among clubs who qualify for payment, which in Coutinho’s case would be Inter and Vasco da Gama, where the 25-year-old began his footballing career. That means Inter would be due around just €3m if Coutinho were to join Barcelona in a €120m deal.
FIFA regulations read:
“This solidarity contribution reflects the number of years [calculated pro rata if less than one year] he was registered with the relevant club[s] between the seasons of his 12th and 23rd birthdays.”
It is clear that Inter did not recognize what they had in Coutinho. He had went out on loan to La Liga side Espanyol in January 2012, where he thrived — making the most of his much-needed game-time. Mauricio Pochettino then tried to sign Coutinho for Southampton a year later, but with no success.
“When he [Coutinho] came back, Inter had taken a new direction,” Ausilio concedes.
“We had changed coach again — and we were looking to find new continuity, and we had changed a few players.
“We had changed coach in June — with Gian Piero Gasperini coming, and then he was changed after only three months [for Claudio Ranieri] — so it was a difficult time for Inter, not just for Coutinho.
“After a year, he was not playing regularly, but we could see he had the talent. Maybe we just had some more talented players ahead of him in the pecking order at the time — like Diego Milito, Wesley Sneijder, Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio — so he couldn’t get a regular game, and he needed this.”
I get that Inter had more experienced players ahead of Coutinho at the time. But everyone knew he had talent and not demanding a sell-out clause be added to his contract was just poor negotiation by Ausilio.