Philippe Coutinho wants to leave Barcelona and return to the Premier League, according to his agent Kia Joorabchian.
The news comes as little surprise with the Brazilian having struggled to make an impact at the Camp Nou after his big-money move from Liverpool in January 2018. He has spent the season on loan at Bayern Munich, but the Bundesliga giants have already confirmed they have not activated the purchase option in his contract.
Joorabchian has now offered an update on Coutinho’s future in an interview with Sky Sports, although he is unsure if the 27-year-old will move in the next transfer window.
“He has a desire to come back to the Premier League at some point. It may not happen this year, it may happen this year – we don’t know. We have not discussed anything for now.”
Coutinho’s current Barcelona deal runs until the summer of 2023 and includes a buyout clause set at €400 million (£445m).
What Next for Coutinho?
Barcelona needs to raise $76 million by the end of June, making it highly likely the Catalan giants would be willing to sell Coutinho if they received an acceptable offer. The Brazilian has had a solid season with Bayern, scoring nine times and contributing eight assists in 32 appearances.
However, Coutinho may have already played his last game for Bayern. The competition has now resumed after being suspended because of Covid-19, but the Brazilian is sidelined after undergoing ankle surgery at the end of April.
Could Coutinho Get a Second Chance at Barca?
Yet Coutinho certainly won’t come cheap which may prove problematic with clubs affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic. Sergi Sole at Mundo Deportivo has reported Barcelona will not sell Coutinho for less than €100m.
All of which means a Barcelona stay can not be ruled out. Indeed Quique Setien has spoken positively about Coutinho when asked about the Brazilian recently during lockdown in an interview with RAC1.
“I think that Coutinho is a great player, I like him a lot. He is a Barça player. You have to pay the release clause or pay a fee to Barça [for him], but he wants to return here. I am counting on him being here at the beginning of next season. I have to speak to him to ask. If it’s necessary, I will speak to him.”
Setien could also opt to give Coutinho a chance in midfield rather than attack. The Brazilian struggled out wide on the left at Barcelona under previous boss Ernesto Valverde, but Marca’s Hugo Cerezo has reported Setien could play him as a No. 8 instead.