About two weeks ago, Barcelona manager Quique Setien gave an update on the future of on-loan attacking midfielder, Philippe Coutinho. While the quotes were assumed to be just a standard bit of rumor-quelling (after all, no one wants a player’s value to plummet, especially in these times), there could be some actual truths in them.
According to Diario Sport, Setien indeed holds Coutinho in high regards, unlike the former Barcelona boss, Ernesto Valverde. Setien’s 4-3-3 is more suitable to Coutinho than Valverde’s 4-4-2, and there’s a good chance that the 27-year-old will shine in the new setup that places significant emphasis on quick passing, ball progression and possession retention (along with a bit of “creative chaos”).
In addition to the sporting issues, Barcelona need to evaluate the financial conditions for a transfer as well. €90m has been touted as the asking price, since that is the amount at which Barcelona would break even on the amortization costs of their preposterous €145m (and bonuses) purchase two years ago.
However, no one wants to buy Coutinho outright, or even take him on a loan with an obligation to buy, and since Barca are unwilling to entertain loan deals where there is no guarantee that the player will eventually be purchased, they are in a bit of a conundrum.
While Coutinho’s said to be interested in a return to the Premier League, it seems his first priority remains to establish a legacy at the Blaugrana. With Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal closer to the exit door than ever before, and with even Arthur Melo’s future clouded in uncertainty, the time could be right for Coutinho to make that mark finally.
From Chelsea’s perspective, this could be a silver lining, with attentions hopefully focused on players like Jadon Sancho or Kai Havertz insteaad.