Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona just about 18 months ago, and not much has gone his way ever since. The Catalan giants reached an agreement with Liverpool for a fee in the region of £146 million. The main question (a year and a half down the line) remains whether Coutinho has justified that price tag?
From being the star of Anfield, the Brazilian has become just another player at Camp Nou. Things have taken a nasty and sharp turn for Coutinho on his return to Spain. In all honesty, Coutinho only seems a shadow of himself in comparison to his days at Liverpool.
There have been several instances where Coutinho has been caught up contemplating between a direct shot at goal (a shot which he would have surely taken with the Liverpool shirt on) or feeding a ball to the bigger names in Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The end product on most of these situations has been a half-cross, half-pass; in short, a wayward attempt at goal.
This season, the Brazilian has been under continuous criticism from the local press in Spain, who have done all their dirty work in making Coutinho look like a poor business decision by FC Barcelona. During the 2018/19 season thus far, Coutinho has nine goals and five assists to his credit despite not playing the entire ninety minutes since January.
In a recent instance, Coutinho was not allowed to play the entire ninety during the Derbi Barceloni, where he was taken off around the 82nd-minute mark. These figures speak volumes about his potential as a 26-year-old attacking midfielder. These figures do not assure promise of a great future for both the parties involved, the club and the player.
It has become a well-recognised fact that Ernesto Valverde does not trust Coutinho playing in his midfield. Whenever given a start, Coutinho has been deployed on the left flank, where he has struggled to gain momentum and form. If signing Coutinho for a figure of £146 million seems to be a losing bet for the Camp Nou faithful, it’s only the club and the relevant factors to be blamed and not the player.
Spanish outlet Sport (via Sky Sports) has claimed in a report that Barcelona are willing to take a loss and sell the player in the region of £110 million. According to the reports, Manchester United and Chelsea are linked with the former Liverpool ace.
Barcelona needs to get used to adapting to life without Lionel Messi. At 31, the Argentine would continue to deliver these heroic performances for another three seasons at maximum. Where does the club go from there?
We at T4O feel taking a £36m loss for Coutinho seems counterproductive. At the very least, he should be given another season to prove his worth. If nothing comes out of it, maybe then taking a loss on the former Liverpool star should be considered.