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Does Philippe Coutinho’s future lie away from Barcelona?

Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona from Liverpool for 145 million pounds in January 2018. He scored 11 times and provided five assists in 54 matches during his 18 months stay in Barcelona. When Barcelona snapped Coutinho, it felt like the right move for a player who had shone in the Premier League for years for Liverpool. There was an expectation that Coutinho would be the player to finally fill the void left in the Barcelona midfield since the departure of club legend Andreas Iniesta. There were also expectations that his arrival at the club would see him re-establish the great connection he had with Luis Suarez at Liverpool.

However, he never managed to win over the hearts of Barca fans after a string of poor performances and fell out of favor at the Camp Nou. Last summer, it was the German champions Bayern Munich that jumped at the chance to take Coutinho on a season-long loan deal from the La Liga champions with the option of signing him permanently. Coutinho’s season at Bayern Munich has been full of ups and downs so far, with the German club set to snub the option of signing him permanently. At the moment, Coutinho’s future is uncertain. In recent weeks, he has become the subject of transfer speculations ahead of the summer transfer window.  A host of Premier League clubs have emerged as possible destinations for him.

 

Which Premier League club is landing Coutinho in this summer transfer window?

Coutinho is still a loan player at Bayern Munich this season and is a subject of a return to the Premier League. The truth is that many clubs in the Premier League are interested in securing the services of Coutinho. He is reportedly a summer target for Chelsea, who are looking to bolster the attacking options at the disposal of Chelsea manager Frank Lampard. Chelsea’s experienced attackers Willian and Pedro, are set to leave in the next transfer window.

The departure of Eden Hazard last summer has left a gap that Coutinho could naturally fill. He can cut in from the left of a front three and can also operate just behind the striker. He would bring some added Champions League and Premier League know-how, as well as class, to a Lampard team full of youngsters. A midfield trio of Jorginho, Kante, and Coutinho could be an interesting tactical question. Arsenal is another Premier League side who could offer Coutinho a happy alternative. Mikel Arteta is said to be a keen admirer of Philippe Coutinho.

Coutinho is a player who can perform in those so-called half-spaces and really as an out and out attacking midfielder. However, it is uncertain if the Gunners can afford to sanction a big-money move for Coutinho.

They can also involve their leading marksman and top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang whose current deal at the Emirates ends next season in a swap deal for Coutinho. Aubameyang is yet to commit his future to Arsenal, having rejected the contract extension offer on the table as he is interested in joining an ambitious club. As such, Aubameyang to Barcelona would make sense in so many ways. The big question is, would Coutinho be willing to play for a club outside the Champions League because he left Liverpool for Barcelona.

He was optimistic that his move to Barcelona would give him a better shot to compete for multiple crowns. Newcastle United are said to have also entered the race to land Coutinho’s services, with a 300 million pound takeover said to be close. The only reason Coutinho would join Newcastle this summer is if only they can increase his weekly wages.

 

What next for Coutinho and Barcelona?

Coutinho will return to the Camp Nou this summer, and if the Spanish giants don’t find suitors for him, another option for them would be to use him as a makeweight in a deal to bring back Neymar from PSG. A swap deal could also help Barcelona avoid paying a hefty transfer fee for Neymar.

The French Ligue 1 champions have also previously been interested in Coutinho, so that makes the deal more straightforward. Another player Barcelona has an interest in is Lautaro Martinez, whom they view as a possible replacement for the aging Luis Suarez. Barcelona can agree on a deal with Inter Millan by swapping the players. A potential move to Inter Milan would see Coutinho return to the Milan side after playing for the club between 2008 and 2013 in his first spell in Europe.

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