Ronald Koeman is ready to give Barcelona’s transfer from hell a second chance, and plans to hold talks with Philippe Coutinho after Sunday night’s Champions League final.
Ironically, of course, Barcelona’s sole representatives at the final in Lisbon, perhaps the worst Barcelona transfer in modern history, will be having spent the season on loan at all-conquering Bayern Munich.
The Brazilian, who has been a bit of a laughing stock under Hansi Flick, was infamously brought off the bench to score twice in the 8-2 quarter-final rout against his parent club earlier this month. To add insult to injury, Barcelona will have to pay Liverpool an extra £5m if Coutinho wins the Champions League with Bayern.
Will Neymar and Coutinho return?
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— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 22, 2020
The humiliating result sparked a week of upheaval at Barcelona, with Quique Setien and Eric Abidal replaced as first-team coach and technical secretary respectively.
Reports claim that almost none of the playing staff are safe this summer as the super club prepares for a much-needed overhaul. However, incoming coach Koeman may be willing to give 27-year-old Coutinho – who has cost Barca around £7m per goal to date – another chance to prove his worth.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Koeman will speak to Coutinho after Sunday’s final to discuss his intentions with the player.
Ronald Koeman is ready to give Coutinho another chance to shine at Barça/JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images
Quimin is said to ‘know Coutinho very well’ from his time in the Premier League and ‘will want’ to rely on the playmaker in his midfield next season, which only includes homegrown talent Ricky Puig and new signings. Wale Miralam Pejank’s assurances are still pending. Camp Nou next season.
While Frenkie de Jong is also highly unlikely to leave this summer, veteran trio Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal are all on the market.
Coutinho’s own plans remain unclear, although his agent, Kia Joorabchian, has often called for the player to return to England – with Arsenal, Leicester and Tottenham loosely linked among the clubs. However, the prospect of large cash transfers in the pandemic-hit market seems remote.
People will say that this season is the first time Barcelona have won anything since 2007-08, but in fact their ridiculous investment in the Neymar windfall has won Liverpool the league for the first time in 30 years.
— Jonathan Wilson (@jonawils) August 14, 2020
Back in July, Jorabchian said: “After the Champions League, it’s been no secret that he wants to come back to the Premier League if he can; he loves playing in the Premier League and they love in the Premier League.
“It’s one of his priorities… but he’s also not against staying at Barcelona, so it’s very open.”
Coutinho’s Barcelona contract runs until 2023.