Philippe Coutinho’s disappointing Barcelona adventure has come to an end, for now. Just 18 months after joining the Blaugrana from Liverpool for €142 million, Coutinho has been shipped off to Bavaria on a season long loan worth €8.5 million that includes an option to buy him for €120 million.
The Brazilian playmaker arrived in Spain in January 2018 to high anticipation after lighting up the Premier League. The step up to Barcelona seemed like the perfect move for a technical and gifted player like Coutinho who was over the moon at the time of his arrival.
“I’m very happy, very happy. I have always said that it is a dream that I am living and I am very happy to be here. It is incredible to know that I am going to live with idols like Leo Messi, Luis Suárez, [Andrés] Iniesta, [Gerard] Piqué, [Sergio] Busquets. I am very happy to be able to live together, to learn from them and be able to win together”.
Coutinho joined Barcelona 6 months after Neymar’s departure and was tasked with picking up the brunt of the creative burden left behind by his countryman. And while Coutinho is certainly talented enough to do so, he struggled to fit in stylistically in a side understandably built around Lionel Messi.
Too often wanting to come infield in the spaces already occupied by Messi, Coutinho was unable to adapt his game to compliment the Argentine in the way that Neymar did to such devastating effect during their time together. So, after just a year and a half, Barcelona decided to cut their losses and move Coutinho on. A return to the Premier League was heavily rumored for the Brazilian but potential moves to Arsenal or Tottenham never came to fruition and now he is set to get a new lease on life in Munich.
After his difficult spell in Cataluña, Coutinho expressed his excitement to revive his career at one of European’s biggest clubs.
“For me, this change represents a new challenge in a new country at one of the best clubs in Europe. I am really looking forward to this. I have big goals like Bayern, and I’m sure I can do it with my new team-mates. At Barcelona, things did not quite work out as planned. But that’s history now”.
Bayern Munich were likewise looking to reinvest themselves after a disappointing season and despite missing out on Leroy Sane, signing Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic is not a bad consolation prize.
The German powerhouse has positioned itself expertly following Sane’s ACL injury that ended their pursuit. They signed both Coutinho and Perisic on loan with an option to buy so if they both perform well, Bayern can sign them permanently and if the possibility to bring Sane in next summer arises, they have not committed to any long-term moves that would get in the way of that.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have made yet another to make room for Neymar. A return for the Brazilian has been heavily reported and with the departures of Coutinho and Malcom, Barcelona now have room in the squad and on the wage bill to finance a return for one of the world’s biggest stars.