The chances of Philippe Coutinho leaving Barcelona and returning to former club Liverpool have been described as “impossible.”
Coutinho’s future is the subject of much speculation ahead of the summer transfer window with a Barcelona exit looking likely. A shock return to Liverpool had been mooted but has been emphatically ruled out by Simon Hughes at The Athletic:
However, a return to the Premier League is still possible. Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian has said the midfielder would like to play in the English top-flight again.
“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 is contracted to Barcelona until 2023 but has spent the season on loan with Bundesliga side Bayern Munich. The German team has already confirmed they have not activated the purchase option in his contract.
What Next for Coutinho?
There’s no doubt that Coutinho is in something of a tricky situation. He does not appear to be wanted by Bayern, while Barcelona are keen to sell but are struggling to find a buyer, according to Sid Lowe at ESPN.
The Brazilian has not had a bad season at Bayern. He’s played 22 times in the league, scoring eight times and producing six assists. Yet his purchase option was set at a rather optimistic €120 million ($135m) and it never seemed likely that Bayern would be willing to meet that price.
Coutinho may not even get the chance to try and impress potential buyers before the end of the season. The 27-year-old underwent ankle surgery in April and may not return before the end of the campaign.
Premier League Still an Option
A move to the Premier League still looks Coutinho’s most likely option. Barcelona are willing to lower their asking price, amid interest from Chelsea and Tottenham, and are even willing to accept a player-plus-cash swap deal, according to Sport’s Lluis Miguelsanz.
Newcastle United is also a possible destination, according to France Football. The Magpies could move for the Brazilian if their proposed takeover goes through, and Coutinho “believes very strongly in the project.”
Barcelona need to sell players to balance the books before the end of June, according to Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens at ESPN. Coutinho looks one of the most likely players to leave but his price tag will prove a problem in the current financial climate.
Of course, there is always the possibility that Coutinho could stay at Barca, and manager Quique Setien has hinted he could be willing to give the Brazilian a chance. He told RAC1 in April that he thinks Coutinho is a “great player” who he likes a lot.