By Connor Varnish – @cvarn4
Recent headlines have suggested that Liverpool’s number nine, Roberto Firmino, could quite possibly be the primary target for Barcelona when the transfer window opens next summer.
Rumours have surfaced as the Spanish side look set on eventually replacing ex-red Luis Suarez with a younger, more mobile, and just as prolific version of the Uruguayan. Liverpool fans will find it no shock, given the recent history between the two clubs, that early reports suggest Barcelona’s sights are set right on our Brazilian hitman.
But is our Bobby different from those past Reds – now current Barca players – we grew to adore and worship? And if these fresh claims contain any substance, should Liverpool fans be worried that Firmino might swap Liverpool Red for the glitz and glamour of Barcelona?
Recent history would suggest that we should be worried that Bobby might feel tempted to look at joining the Spanish giants, especially considering one of his best mates and fellow Brazilians in Philippe Coutinho decided to jump ship and join Barca just last January.
And as I am sure all of you are aware, Luis Suarez did the exact same as Coutinho not too long ago in the summer of 2014, as he left Merseyside to join the Catalan side – so the wounds are still very fresh for many supporters in this regard.
So yes, perhaps it’s sensible to worry, but I will not – and I think you shouldn’t either. Bobby is different, and here’s why.
Firmino just recently signed a contract last April keeping him here, in theory, until 2023. Before I continue, I can almost guarantee at least half of those reading are screaming “but contracts mean nothing!” I’m well aware that contracts generally mean next to nothing in football, but I believe Firmino is the exception.
Besides (and perhaps covering my bases here!), should Barcelona continue to push for our Brazilian, they will almost certainly need to cough up even more cash than they paid for Coutinho last January.
Upon signing his new deal, Firmino proclaimed his love for Liverpool and detailed how much he owes the club for giving him the opportunity to continue to prove himself on the biggest stage in front of the best fans in the world.
Just this past August, Bobby even doubled-down on these comments, declaring his desire to stay and win trophies for Liverpool, highlighting his singular focus on accomplishing these goals in Liverpool red. I’m not so sure Firmino would repeat these claims if he wasn’t so keen on spending his prime years with the Reds.
Jürgen Klopp has undoubtedly built a side of world-class players with nearly all of them in their prime, and has proven he is willing to add to it. I believe Firmino understands how important his role is at our club, just as much as I’m sure he realises Liverpool provides a magnificent opportunity for him to win titles in the very near future alongside this now star-studded team.
Perhaps most importantly, Bobby genuinely seems like an adopted Scouser. The way he moves about the pitch with his relentless press along with his never-say-die attitude are traits that resonate with the entire city of Liverpool – a city where nothing is given for free and a city that embodies earning success and respect through hard work and determination.
We love Bobby Firmino, I think that is safe to say, and I think I’m right to state Bobby loves us – something perhaps not wholeheartedly reciprocated by former-South American superstars for Liverpool. I believe that is ultimately what sets him apart, and hopefully what keeps him here for many more years to come.