Barca may have to 'keep Coutinho at the club in summer due to coronavirus'

Barca may have to 'keep Coutinho at the club in summer due to coronavirus'

Philippe Coutinho may be handed a Barcelona lifeline this summer - because he’s unsellable.

The former Liverpool man, the club’s record signing at £134million, was dumped out on loan this season, at Bayern Munich, after a tough 18 months at Camp Nou.

Initially signed to replace Andres Iniesta, Ernesto Valverde didn’t trust Coutinho in a midfield three, before deciding he didn’t much fancy him on the left side of a front three either.

But Bayern, who paid an £8million loan fee and have been paying his £200k-a-week wages, have no interest in signing the Brazilian on a permanent basis.

That has seen speculation mount over Coutinho’s next port of call, with Chelsea among those tipped to make a move.

And they have also promised Antoine Griezmann his No.7 shirt next season.

However, Barcelona chiefs may have no choice other than to keep Coutinho at the club when the transfer window opens - whenever that may be.

In part that is down to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused havoc on seasons around Europe, suspending the vast majority and this week seeing France cancel the remainder of the Ligue 1 campaign.

The Covid-19 crisis is set to see the summer transfer window moved, and its expected that big-spending won’t be par for the course with clubs this summer.

And certainly not with Coutinho, for whom Barcelona had been hoping to recoup around £70-80million. Unfortunately for Los Cules, the market simply isn’t there.


Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, had been tasked with trying to find him a new home, but found no-one willing to pay the 28-year-old’s full freight - Liverpool don't want a cut-price return at all - with only the possibility of loans being considered.

That is something Barcelona aren’t keen on again, given that, another season-long deal would just tick another year off his contract, take him to 29, and merely drop his value further.

There is also Barca’s own financial issues, with the club having spent heavily in recent years’ the club’s net debt stands at €217m, with player wages accounting for 67 percent of the club’s budget - an unhealthy figure at any level, even before you account for the game currently being at a standstill.

As such, unless someone appears out of nowhere with the money to make a permanent deal, then Coutinho is set to return and be a part of the first-team squad in 2020-21.

That’s why the club are now briefing that head coach Quique Setien has different ideas for Coutinho next term than Valverde previously, and that the ex-Betis boss believes he can add creativity to the side’s midfield.

It is a U-turn that has been forced as much as anything. Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook
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