Barcelona Confirm Second January Exit After Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho

Getty Philippe Coutinho waves to Barcelona fans.

Barcelona have confirmed that 22-year-old midfielder Alex Collado has followed Philippe Coutinho in securing a loan move away from the Camp Nou in the January transfer window.

Collado, who has not been able to play for Barca this season as he hasn’t been registered with the first team, will spend the rest of the season on loan at La Liga rivals Granada. The two sides actually meet in La Liga on Saturday, January 8 at Los Carmenes.

Barcelona had already confirmed earlier in the day that Coutinho will spend the rest of the campaign at Premier League side Aston Villa. The Catalans offered some details on the transfer in a statement on the club’s official website.

“FC Barcelona and Aston Villa have reached an agreement for the loan of the player Philippe Coutinho until the end of the season. The agreement, subject to the player passing his medical and obtaining a work permit, includes an option to make the transfer permanent,” read the statement. “The English club will pay part of the player’s wages and the midfielder is expected to travel to Birmingham in the next few hours.”

The deal sees Coutinho head back to the Premier League where he starred for Liverpool before his move to Barcelona in January 2018. Coutinho’s loan includes a purchase option that allows Villa to sign the Brazilian permanently for €40 million, as reported by Diario Sport’s Toni Juanmarti.

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Xavi Confirms Collado Will Return

It’s not clear yet if Coutinho will return to the Camp Nou, but coach Xavi has already made it clear he wants Collado to come back to Barcelona once his loan expires at the end of the season.

Xavi told a pre-match press conference on Friday, Januay 7 that he has been impressed with the former Barca B captain in training and has been disappointed that he’s not been able to use him in 2021-22, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.

“I would like him to always play, because he is ours and he has a lot of talent,” he said. “The pity is that we have not been able to register him due to a bureaucratic issue. He would have helped us a lot. It is a pity that we cannot use him. Tomorrow we will have him against us.. He is a kid who deserves it and the goal is for him to come back in June. He will show his talent for sure.”

Will Umtiti Be the Next To Leave?

More departures are still expected at Barcelona with the Catalans keen to make room on the wage bill for new signing Ferran Torres. Xavi also offered his thoughts on Coutinho’s exit and responded to questions regarding whether Samuel Umtiti might be next out of the door.

“It says a lot about Philippe that he wants to have minutes. His salary has been reduced and he is an exemplary professional,” he said. “As for Samuel, let’s see what there is. I have no complaints. Everyone is there working and with a good disposition.”

Umtiti has long been linked with a Barcelona exit and it seems clear he is surplus to requirements at the Camp Nou. The France international has only made one appearance so far this season after falling down the pecking order at Barcelona.

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