Speculation surrounding Philippe Coutinho’s future has gone on – and will continue to do so – all summer until the Barcelona midfielder’s future is decided.
The Brazilian playmaker is apparently out of favour at Barcelona and in need of a new team ahead of next season, so that he can rejuvenate his career before he hangs up his boots.
Coutinho spent last season on loan at Bayern Munich, but the German giants who recently splashed out of Leroy Sane, don’t want him.
Inter Milan were also in the mix, but the Italian giants have snapped up Alexis Sanchez on a permanent transfer meaning there is no room at the inn for the Brazilian.
So what next?
Coutinho is staring down the barrel of a stressful summer, but according to those who have opted to speak out on the midfielder’s predicament – all roads lead one way.
Discussing the Brazilian’s future, Frank Lebouef told ESPN FC: “I don’t think [Chelsea will sign him]. Coutinho has been good with Liverpool, so far poor with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“I would have lots of question marks seeing him coming to Chelsea, to bring what?
“We have young players, very talented, who are very promising. We have good midfield players with [Mateo] Kovacic and Jorginho, to organise the game
“I don’t know where his place would be. If I was the chairman, if I was the coach, I would be very hesitant to pick him up.”
Coutinho’s compatriot Rivaldo, meanwhile, told Betfair: “It looks like Bayern Munich won’t pay Philippe Coutinho’s option clause at the end of the season and the player is likely to return to Barcelona.
“I always thought Coutinho would adapt better to Spanish football than German, as there are some language and lifestyle issues that could be a little different for a Brazilian in Germany.
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone well for the player in either league and he will be returning to Barcelona. It’s up to the club and manager to decide whether he is going to have another chance next season or not.
“If the chance comes, Coutinho really needs to step up and show the great player he is, just like he did in England with Liverpool and has done with the Brazilian national team for which he is still an important player.
“I believe in his qualities and think much will depend on his will and mental strength. He must prove that others were wrong to write him off and that he can still make the difference for any team.
“Playing for Barcelona is a unique chance for a player and perhaps Coutinho’s experience in the Bundesliga has made him wake up and see that Barca could be the right place for him.
“Of course, it might not turn out to be the case and he could join a Premier League club. Barca might prefer to get back some of his investment in the player.
“I think Coutinho should fight to stay at Barca and try to convince the club of his qualities. That would be a real demonstration of his personality.”
It is interesting that both former pros suggested the Brazilian stay put and fight for his place at Barcelona, rather than try and make it elsewhere.
And, perhaps more interestingly, Barcelona boss Quique Setien recently suggested the same thing.
He told Radio Station RAC 1: “He is still a Barcelona player. You have to pay the clause or a transfer fee to Barca. I think he can be here at the beginning of next season.
“I don’t know if he wants to come back or go away again, I have to talk to him to ask him. He is a great player, no doubt about it.”
Coutinho described moving to Barcelona as a “dream” only two years ago.
Admittedly, his dream quickly turned into a nightmare, but the midfielder is still young and talented enough to turn things around. Watch this space.
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