Given the furore made to sign Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho, the pace at which FC Barcelona wish to conclude an exit can seem jarring. Signed for a fee that could have risen well beyond €100m, Coutinho was seen as the long-term replacement in central midfield; a goalscoring playmaker who could help Lionel Messi and co. continue to dominate.
Instead, the process could not have worked out any worse for player and club. Given just a short period of time to adapt to life in Spain, he was regularly benched or played from the wrong position. So much so that when the Brazilian scored against Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League, he gave a taunt to the fans in the stands. This merely helped to turn the tide against a player who, along with other marquee signings like Ousmane Dembele and Arthur Melo, was seen as wasteful use of resources.
A loan to FC Bayern soon came, culminating with the ultimate embarrassment of Coutinho scoring against his parent club in a semi-final thrashing. Returning to Spain in the summer of 2020, a fast start to the 2020-21 season was soon curtailed by injury. Since that injury, Coutinho was very much failed to build any kind of consistent momentum.
As such, he is back on the market and is believed to be available for a price as low as €40m. With interest from London giants Chelsea and Arsenal, there is belief that a move will take place in the near future as Barcelona look to trim wages and rebuild the squad.
Where will Coutinho sign?
The most likely move is to return to England, though there has been some interest from Italy, as well. Former club Internazionale have been tentatively linked, while city rivals Milan and capital club AS Roma are believed to hold an interest. However, the massive wages and the fee involved might make it more likely that a trip to Italy would arrive in the form of a loan.
Despite being one of the star faces of the Brendan Rodgers and early Jurgen Klopp era at Liverpool, Coutinho was failed to fire with any consistency at any other club. As such, it is likely that he will move on from Barcelona in a bid to find a new home – just as he had to when first arriving at Anfield in 2013.
Although his talent has never been in question, fortitude and fitness have long been questions surrounding just how good Coutinho could actually be. For that reason, it is likely that an exit will take place this year as Barcelona look to move on from what has to be seen as one of the most expensive mistakes in the history of the club.
For Coutinho, the next move is imperative; with a host of exciting young Brazilian talent coming along, he has little time to ensure he can stick around in the Brazilian national side before the 2022 FIFA World Cup.