Philippe Coutinho won his case. Retained by Liverpool in the summer of 2017, the Brazilian midfielder finally joined FC Barcelona on January 6, 2018 against a check for 120 million euros, plus 40 bonus. The dream could begin for the native of Rio de Janeiro. But three and a half years after his signing, we are closer to a nightmare than to a dream. After six interesting first months of adaptation (10 goals, 6 assists in 22 matches), he had a more delicate 2018-19 year. Between injuries and average performances, the international auriverde (11 goals and 5 assists in 54 appearances in all competitions) was not convinced.
Result: he was sent on loan to Bayern Munich for the 2019-20 season. A paying loan of 8.5 M € with a purchase option of 120 M €. The objective was to slim down while allowing the Brazilian to regain playing time and confidence. In Germany, Coutinho has played 38 games in all competitions, 22 as a starter (11 goals, 9 assists). But he failed to convince the Bavarian leaders to lift his option and continue the adventure with him. So back to square one for the footballer born in 1992.
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145 days of absence this season
And if the residents of Camp Nou hoped to sell him, Ronald Koeman, who arrived on the bench in the summer of 2020, decided to give the player a new chance. The latter began to believe it and even chained the tenure in the first part of the season (10 in 14 matches, 3 goals and 2 assists). He even confided in early December: “I am the first to be demanding. I know that my performance was not what I expected and, as we are at Barça, we are the center of attention. I can say that I have worked a lot mentally to be well and, today, I consider myself much better on this aspect ».
But Coutinho, betrayed several times by his body in recent seasons (muscle tear and tendon strain during his first year at Barça, ankle at Bayern Munich), was still stopped on December 30, the day after the match against Eibar. “The examinations carried out on Philippe Coutinho confirmed an injury to the external meniscus of the left knee”. He will undergo an arthroscopy, announced the Culés. Operated several times, he missed the entire second part of Barça’s season, 145 days (33 matches). Tired, the Blaugranas are keen to part with it this summer 2021. Especially since they need cash.
A vital sale for Barça
But selling Philippe Coutinho will not be an easy task. Placed on the list of undesirable, the Brazilian, who has not played for 5 months, is not yet fully recovered according to the latest echoes from Spain. In addition, the Catalan club know that they will sell at a loss an item bought 120 million euros (+40 bonus) three and a half years ago. He also wants to avoid paying his impressive salary (13 million per year) and certain bonuses, in particular the 20 million he will owe Liverpoool if the Brazilian plays 100 matches at Barça. It is currently at 90. Selling it is therefore imperative and vital for a team that has a large financial debt. But at what cost to let it slip away?
Today, the specialized site Transfermarkt estimates its market value at 40 million euros. Sport indicated last March that the idea was to sell it for 50 million euros. A sum that seems high today, between the economic crisis linked to the covid-19 epidemic and the overall level displayed by the former Liverpool player in recent seasons. Despite everything, a few teams are still willing to revive him, such as Everton and Arsenal according to Skysports and The Sun. However, its price could be a brake, as the evolution of its physical state. Under contract until 2023, Coutinho is currently a big financial thorn in the side of a limping Barça.