Barcelona is set to offload Coutinho in order to raise funds, according to multiple sources.
Joining Barcelona back in 2017 was like a dream come true for Philippe Coutinho. Nearly four seasons removed and that move has been anything but for the Brazilian star.
He might very well soon be waking up from what has become a nightmare as according to Diario Sport, the club are looking to sell Coutinho during the January transfer window. The main motivator for pulling off such a sale is financial.
The report claims Carles Tusquets, the president of the managing committee, believes the wage bill still needs to be reduced further. The simplest way to do that is by selling a player.
Coutinho is the most obvious choice for a number of reasons. The main one being Barcelona cannot afford to have a player earning such high wages riding the bench.
When Ronald Koeman arrived, he petitioned for Coutinho to stay as he believed he could be the one to get the best out of him. Coutinho was coming off a loan at Bayern Munich as the Bavarian side did not execute their purchase option.
In preseason and for the first couple of games of the season, it seemed Koeman’s gamble was paying off. Coutinho was playing more centrally and had an assist in their opener against Villarreal and scored a goal against Sevilla.
Then, as the team wobbled so did Coutinho. A string of poor performances and he looked like the player the season before Barcelona loaned him out to Bayern. He then got injured and was out for a couple of weeks. The hope was he would come back and be the player he was early in the season.
It has not been that way with Coutinho continuing to struggle and now being played on the wing where he has never looked comfortable. He’s fallen further down the depth chart and now Pedri seems to be the preferred choice for Koeman.
Finding another team to take him out of Barcelona’s hand will be a difficult task. The new president, and his board, are unlikely to have enough time to work on a deal in January. In the meantime, it does appear that he will at least finish out the season with the Catalan side.
The club are also going to need to temper their expectations in terms of what transfer fee they may get. They are not going to recuperate the entire amount they paid when they signed him from Liverpool.
There is still time, however, for Coutinho to try to turn his fortunes around. But he’ll need to do it quickly as the trust the manager had in him early in the season appears to be fading away.