Philippe Coutinho. How times have changed. Once the star man at Liverpool, able to pull rabbits out of hats and win games on his own. The Brazilian finally got his move to Barcelona for a staggering €160 million and was expected to take his game to the next level. To say that hasn’t worked out would an understatement. Now he finds himself in an awkward position where even he doesn’t know what his future is. Allow me to elaborate on that:
So the move to the Blaugrana hasn’t been a success whatsoever. Despite playing well when he arrived, Valverde failed to give him the sufficient minutes, hence why the 27-year-old struggled for consistency and form in his second season at the Camp Nou. Now, after leaving for Bayern on loan, Coutinho has once again shown he’s a top class player. Six goals and six assists in nineteen games is a fairly good return. But the German giants are unlikely to undertake the €120 million option to buy.
So it seems like the former Inter Milan midfielder is in limbo. A player you’d think everyone would want coming into his prime. But apparently tha is not the case.
Philippe Coutinho – A return to Liverpool?
A return to Liverpool has been talked about. I’m sure the fans would forgive him for leaving in the first place, considering how good Coutinho was at Anfield. Yet, would Jurgen Klopp really want to add him to the side and disrupt their incredibly robust system, just for the sake of an emotional return?
Perhaps his former teammates may not be as warm to the idea, considering he did end up forcing the move. As a wise man once said, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. The Barcelona midfielder definitely won’t return to Merseyside playing second fiddle either, so this move seems unlikely.
Back in the Barcelona fold?
Then of course, there’s the possibility of Coutinho returning to the Catalan club’s plans. With a new manager in Quique Setien, could the Brazilian international finally find his feet in Spain? Ivan Rakitic looks likely to depart Barcelona in the summer, so the Brazilian could be played in a central midfield role. Slightly deeper than the number 10 role he’s used to, but you never know with Setien. He certainly has the technical ability and vision for that role.
Ousmane Dembélé’s injury curse doesn’t seem to go away, so this could open the door for Coutinho’s return on the wing. Alternatively, the board could decide to get him off the books permanently, with a cut price sale. This would give them an opportunity to bring in someone like Lautaro Martinez. Once again, this option is clouded with uncertainty.
Another Premier League side?
As aforementioned, a permanent switch to Bavaria hasn’t been indicated by the club’s board. So could a Premier League return be on the cards, but to someone else. Chelsea have been linked to Coutinho in the past and could be tempted. Bringing in the 27-year-old would be an interesting option for Frank Lampard, who requires ready made quality to compliment the young talent in his squad. But then again, with the constant links to Jadon Sancho and after signing Hakim Ziyech, will they spend big on the former Liverpool midfielder?
Every option available has a ‘but’ or ‘maybe’ associated with it. It will be interesting to see where Philippe Coutinho goes in the summer. He’s unplayable on his day and still has a lot to give. It would be such a shame if his prime years end up being wasted on the bench. Only time will tell where he ends up.
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