Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona from Liverpool during the January transfer window last year for a reported £105 million. This number would rise to £142 million with various clauses being met such as a certain amount of goals scored or assisted. This made Coutinho the third highest transfer of all time behind Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Many believed that this inflated number was much too high for the 25-year-old. Of course, transfer prices are inflated due to Neymar’s record-breaking transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for £222 million in 2017.
The Brazilian midfielder/winger has played a total of 54 games for the Catalan side, scoring just 18 goals and assisting seven more. Recently, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has favored Frenchman Ousmane Dembele out on the wing instead of Coutinho. The little magician’s form and playing time have been on the decline this season. Coutinho’s most recent performance against rivals Real Madrid in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey semifinal saw him under-perform much like he’s done all campaign. He was subbed out after an hour of play for Lionel Messi, who didn’t start the game because of a prior injury. Fans around the world took to social media to bash the young Brazilian’s performance saying that it’s not enough for their club.
Unfortunately for Barcelona, midfielder Arthur and winger Malcom both sustained injuries that will cause them to miss several weeks. This could be the opportunity that Coutinho needs to reignite the form that he showed while at Liverpool and earn Valverde’s trust back. While playing in the Premier League, the Brazilian managed to score 41 goals and have 35 assists for the reds.
With Coutinho’s playing time decreasing and the possibility of Eden Hazard going to Real Madrid, there have recently been rumors of the midfielder/winger making a return to England as Hazard’s replacement should he go. Of course, if the Belgian stays in London, there would be no need for Coutinho because Dortmund winger and American Christian Pulisic will be at Stamford Bridge this summer. Euro-sport has reported that Chelsea and Manchester United would be the favorites to sign the Brazilian and bring him back to England.
Luckily for Coutinho, there is still another half of the campaign to complete, and what looks like more opportunities for him to start. This is his chance to make a lasting impression for Barcelona and show why the Catalans paid so much for him last year.