Inter Milan sports director Piero Ausillio has admitted that he regrets selling Philippe Coutinho to Liverpool in 2013.
The 20-year-old, at the time, moved to England on a £8.5 million deal and has recently sealed a well-deserved a new long-term contract with the Reds.
“It was a great a great regret for me to have to sell him–perhaps one of my greatest regrets in over 20 years at Inter.” Ausillio told ESPN. “To be honest, at that moment in time, Inter were already working on different transfers. We were already in early negotiations over new owners and in talks with potentials shareholders.
“It was a moment when we had a young coach–Andrea Stramaccioni–and we had to sell to buy. We had this opportunity to sell a player [Coutinho] who was not playing and then, with the proceeds from the transfer, we had the chance to buy players who were more suited to what the coach wanted.”
Ausillio then explained how the money of the transfer was used to bring in two new players at Inter: Mateo Kovacevic and Mauro Icardi. Despite the regret, Isillio still holds hopes that he might right the wrong by bringing Coutinho back to Italy one day.
“Coutinho’s career started here thanks to us.” He said. “He was playing in a Brazil U-17 squad with the likes of Neymar and Lucas, so we did well to get such a talented player like him.
“Now we have very strong owners,” he said, “although Financial Fair Play does still have an impact on our finances, but cannot exclude in the future that this lad could end his career back here at Inter–it is something we can always hope for.”
Coutinho has grown to be instrumental for the Liverpool midfield in the past four years, having managed 10 goals and 27 assists in 63 matches.