Each week, we’ll analyse the performance of a player or manager during the 2019/20 season, before throwing it over to you, the audience, to decide whether you would ‘stick’ with them or ‘twist’ in favour of an alternative and if so, who and why? Head to our Twitter (@Eurosport_UK) and send your comments as we discuss Coutinho’s possible next move.
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Wherever your allegiances lie, there is a general appreciation in football for ability, quality and delivery from players with talent you cannot help but admire. Coutinho was an ambassador for these traits during his time at Liverpool. He was a creator, technician and magician with his trickery, technique and Brazilian flair. He was a vital part of the Brendan Rodgers team which came so close to conquering the country.
Since leaving Anfield in January 2018, the 27-year old has pulled on the shirts of Barcelona and Bayern Munich where he currently plies his trade. However, the attacking midfielder has now been linked with another move – one which could see him return to a familiar stomping ground.
No, not Liverpool – although, we shouldn’t dismiss the notion entirely as it has been a topic of discussion in rumour mills of the past.
Instead, his name has been associated with Chelsea. They have already clinched the signing of talented winger Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Coutinho would undoubtedly be another huge statement of attacking intent. This could be a good move for the Brazilian and perhaps a chance to complete any unfinished business.
However, his arrival would come at a cost – not just financially but also in terms of competition. Blues boss Frank Lampard has cast aside a deep-rooted model regarding young players at the club. They have earned their stripes and it is now down to incoming players to displace them, when previously the philosophy was largely detrimental to their young rising stars.
A return to the Premier League would be feasible for Coutinho but in the event that Chelsea were his destination, he would have to earn a place which in previous years might have been guaranteed. This competition could be the key to a successful second coming.
Coutinho is a man well-travelled among Europe’s elite; he took Liverpool by storm before gracing the turf at the Nou Camp and Allianz. He netted 54 goals and 45 assists in 201 games for the Reds before making the big money move to the bright lights of Barcelona. There, he managed 21 goals and 11 assists in 76 appearances for the Spanish giants. However, it wasn’t quite the fairy tale move he might have imagined.
Reports suggested that playing out of position hindered the playmaker’s ability to express himself as he would have liked and when Bayern came calling it was a chance to seek a fresh start elsewhere. The Brazilian is on loan with the German club who have the option to make his move permanent should they desire. He appeared to conjure a mini-revival with eight goals and six assists in 22 games for Bayern, adapting well to a new league and displaying glimpses of the quality of which we all know he is capable of producing.
Chelsea start Coutinho talks, but may face competition - Euro Papers
The fact that Bayern have the option to keep Coutinho is an interesting one. It suggests that Barcelona don’t see him as part of their plans and therefore if his current club see the value in him, would staying put prove more beneficial for Coutinho?
His career in Germany got off to a promising start and he has the chance to establish himself in the team. This would arguably help to regain some consistency to his game and facilitate the discovery of his full potential. At 27 years of age, time is still on his side. That said, would it be wiser for him to stay put at Bayern rather than risking another move where all the cards may not be stacked in his favour?
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Amidst all the uncertainty we are facing one thing is clear, player transfers and contracts are going to work differently in some way, shape or form – at least in the short-term. The extent of the financial damage to clubs caused by the coronavirus crisis has and will further affect several areas of the game. Coutinho left Liverpool for a reported £142million two years ago and fees of this magnitude may no longer be feasible with transfer and wage budgets bound to take a hit.
There are lingering doubts about how to finish the current season across the European leagues and if this should be done at all. Will we be seeing more players staying at home as clubs grapple to retain some form of stability in light of an uncertain future? In the meantime, Coutinho is a Bayern player and talk of anything else is merely speculation. However, what’s certain is the calibre of player they have on their books and the prime asset that he would be for any club interested in acquiring his services.
Have Your Say
Now it’s time for you to get involved. Head to our Twitter page and give us your thoughts on the ultimate question. Would you ‘stick’ with Philippe Coutinho or would you ‘twist’ in favour of an alternative and if so, who would you choose and why?