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Darren Bent Unsure Over Barcelona Playmaker Going To Everton: Should Ancelotti Give Up On His Pursuit?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent interview with Football Insider, former Premier League forward Darren Bent has shared his thoughts on Everton’s pursuit of Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who is currently playing on loan at Bayern Munich when he said,

“I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. Coutinho, I feel a little bit sorry for Coutinho because I feel like he’s being handed around, being offered to clubs left, right and centre.

“This is a guy with a lot of quality. He’s gone to Barcelona, maybe doesn’t quite fit the way they want to play which is quite surprising.

“If Everton can get him, I’m not quite sure he would go there, just for the safety of his family and stuff. I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do but if they can get him it would be a fantastic signing. I can see him going elsewhere.”

Coutinho’s Struggles To Find Consistency In German Football

The Brazil international has enjoyed a productive loan spell at the Allianz Arena. However, he is still nowhere close to performing at his peak after struggling to find consistency as far as his performances are concerned on the field. He has often gone missing in specific matches which have tarnished his reputation a little in European football.

To his credit, Coutinho has registered nine goals and eight assists in 32 appearances for the Bavarian giants this term on all fronts which goes to show that he still has a lot to offer at the highest level. The Rio de Janeiro-born playmaker has averaged 2.6 shots, 1.4 key passes and 1.5 dribbles in every 90 minutes of league football this season. He has performed even better in Europe where he has averaged 3.9 shots, 1.7 key passes and 2.3 dribbles per game in the seven UEFA Champions League games he has been involved in so far (stats via whoscored).

The South American sensation is attempting more shots and completing more dribbles versus high-profile teams in European football which indicates that he can still be a potent goal-threat even when the spotlight is on him to deliver at the top level.

Philippe Coutinho of FC Bayern Muenchen runs with the ball during the DFB Cup round of sixteen match between FC Bayern Muenchen and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Allianz Arena on February 05, 2020, in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Coutinho has a decent record when representing the Brazilian national team after netting 17 goals in 61 international fixtures for his country thus far. Brazil boss Tite will expect him to maintain his good goal-scoring record when the Copa America takes place at the end of next season.

What Are The Brazilian Midfielder’s Best Attributes?

Coutinho can still be considered amongst the most technically gifted midfielders in European football as he possesses excellent ball-control and is full of trickery that enables him to get the better of his marker in the final third. He is a pure striker of the ball and often packs a lot of power and accuracy with his efforts from long range which explains how he has scored so many world-class goals during his loan spell with Bayern Munich. However, he has been guilty of fading in and out of games this season and has thus, become a concern for any of his potential suitors.

Plus, Coutinho doesn’t work hard for his team when not in possession of the ball that can sometimes make him a liability in midfield similar to what Mesut Ozil has been guilty of during his time at Arsenal. Therefore, it is no surprise that Barcelona are struggling to find him a new home as most teams are refusing to meet their high valuation of the player.

Should The Toffees Give Up Their Pursuit Of Coutinho?

The fact that Coutinho had been such a fan-favourite at Liverpool suggests that he won’t fancy a future move to Goodison Park as it might tarnish his reputation and legacy at Anfield. Still, Carlo Ancelotti should not give up his pursuit of the Brazilian just yet. Maybe the Italian tactician should consider making a loan offer for Coutinho as he will be a perfect short-term solution to his creative problems at Merseyside. The Barca outcast might also be tempted if he is offered a chance to return to England and rediscover his old form even if it means joining the Toffees this summer.

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