With the news that Roberto Firmino is set to end his eight-year association with Liverpool in the summer, we’ve priced up Barcelona at 11/8 to be the Brazilian’s club on 3rd September 2023.
It’s been quite the journey for Firmino, who arrived as a big-money signing from Hoffenheim under Brendan Rodgers in the summer of 2015, joining a sttruggling Liverpool team, still reeling from the loss of Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard, with the Brazilian unable to make any real impact.
Rodgers was clearly unsure how to get the best out of Firmino, even deploying him as a right midfielder – and occasional right wing-back – before being relieved of his duties in October 2015.
Jurgen Klopp moved Firmino further forward and more central, and he became an increasingly pivotal part of Liverpool’s attack as the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah joined the club.
Never the most prolific scorer, Firmino averaged a goal every three games across his first six seasons at the club, but was a crucial part of Klopp’s plans, allowing the side to flourish as an attacking unit, reaching three Champions League finals, winning one, and of course finally winning the Premier League in 2019/20.
But the arrival of Diogo Jota in 2021 saw Firmino increasingly sidelined, starting just 10 league games last season, and despite getting a run of games this season with Luis Diaz and Jota spending time out injured, the 31-year-old has decided to call time on his Anfield career.
Italy appeared his next destination, however, at least according to the odds which had Roma, Napoli and Inter as favourites in the market.
But amid reports Barcelona will move for Firmino, the Catalan side are 11/8 favourites, despite fellow Brazilian - and former Barca man - Rivaldo warning Firmino off a move to Camp Nou.
Firmino would fit a certain profile of player Barcelona have signed in recent years; with financial issues at the club, Barcelona have brought the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen, Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Hector Bellerin to the club without having to spend a penny on transfer fees.
Napoli may be in need of a replacement, should Victor Osimhen leave the Italian champions, though they're out to 13/2 from 4/1, with Roma out from 2/1 favourites to 10/1.
Although Napoli were quick to quash rumours of a move for Firmino, star striker Victor Osimhen may be on the move in the summer, potentially forcing the Italian side's hand, though should Osimhen depart, Napoli do still have the likes of Hirving Lozano, Matteo Politano and Giovanni Simeone in their ranks.
On paper, Firmino seems to make sense for a Jose Mourinho side. The Portuguese has often deployed industrious forwards with a physical presence up front, enjoying success with Tammy Abraham there over the last two years.
But assuming Abraham remains in the Italian capital, Roma may not be in the market for another centre forward.
Inter (13/2) are also set to be in the market for a striker when Romelu Lukaku’s loan contract expires, with the club reportedly set to send the Belgian back to London in the summer. Lukaku’s second spell has fallen way below expectations, with the 29-year-old scoring just three non-penalty goals in Serie A this season, with the goalscoring burden falling on Lautaro Martinez and the 37-year-old Edin Dzeko.
Odds correct at time of publishing.