Philippe Coutinho: Barcelona star hits rock bottom as Man Utd transfer talk ramps up | Football | Sport


Coutinho made the move to Barcelona last January in a spectacular £140m transfer – becoming their most expensive signing.

But a year on and he’s not in the team, cutting a frustrated figure and in danger of being sold.

The 26-year-old was supposed to help replace Neymar and Andres Iniesta and fit in with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Demebele.

But he finds himself on the sidelines having only started nine times in La Liga.


He started and scored in the 2-1 defeat to Levante in the Copa del Rey this week in his first start since the draw with Tottenham in their final Champions League game – when Barca were already guaranteed top spot in the group.

That would suggest he’s firmly on Ernesto Valverde’s B team.

And Spanish publication Marca claim the Brazil ace has hit rock bottom.

Coutinho appears to have lost his place to the impressive Arthur Melo and Arturo Vidal.

Barca claim Coutinho has ‘shown little discipline on and off the field’.

Valverde’s assistant Jon Aspiazu was diplomatic on the situation and insists he is still considered a starter and an important part of his team – but admitted his level had dropped.

“Perhaps he’s not at the level he was last year,” Aspiazu told Gol TV before the game. “Dembele has overtaken him a little bit, but he’s a player we consider to be a starter and he’ll be very important for us for the rest of the season.”

While Valverde himself told Coutinho he had to work hard to change the situation.

“When [Ousmane] Dembele wasn’t playing, everyone was asking about him,” Valverde said after the Levante game.

“Now Coutinho isn’t playing and it’s the other way around. When a player isn’t playing or isn’t happy, he has to fight to revert the situation.”

There has even been talk about a move to Manchester United, and while a move remains highly unlikely the suggestion of a transfer away has hardly been quashed by Barcelona.

Italian publication Calciomercato reported that Barca could be willing to sell Coutinho should they get a big enough offer for him.

And the suggestions this week have been that Coutinho could be sold to allow Barca to re-sign Neymar from PSG.

Barcelona have also been trying to sign Willian from Chelsea in a deal that would see them send Malcom the other way.

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