Philipe Coutinho’s dream move to Barcelona was heralded as part of a new era at the team, with both individual and team rewards expected. As three quarters of his first full season have been completed, Coutinho has been hit and miss; underwhelming in the domestic league but showing his quality in the Champions League. In the Champions League, only Messi has had a direct involvement in more goals than Coutinho (two goals and three assists) and he has averaged 2.3 dribbles per game, tied with Messi for the highest at the Club. Further to this, we also highlighted Coutinho as one of the player's to watch in the recent Manchester United v Barcelona tie in the article over at http://fcbusiness.co.uk/news/manchester-united-v-barcelona-what-to-expect/.
Therefore, rumours of a departure due to the Barcelona faithful turning their back on the playmaker may have come too early, given Barcelona are still fighting on three fronts and Coutinho could be vital in the Catalan’s Champions League campaign.
Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be a viable club for Coutinho to move to. The following teams could realistically afford to have Coutinho on their books: PSG, Man United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, and Atletico Madrid.
Not since Luis Figo has a high-profile player moved directly from Barcelona to Real Madrid, and this doesn’t seem like changing any time soon, so it would be a big surprise to see Coutinho move to Real Madrid, especially with Zidane likely to reinstate Isco into the first team set-up.
A move to Atletico Madrid could be a possibility, depending on the movements of Antoine Griezmann. Last summer, Griezmann had the chance to move to Barcelona, but declined. After what could be a trophy-less season one summer after winning the World Cup, Griezmann may look to move elsewhere to win trophies and has again reported his desire to move to the Catalan side. Coutinho could be used in a potential deal although Barcelona’s interest in the Frenchman appears to have dwindled.
Juventus have already signed Aaron Ramsey from Arsenal, so it would be unlikely to see them swoop in for Coutinho. However, with repeated speculation regarding the future of Paulo Dybala, Coutinho could provide a capable replacement option should the Turin decide to sell-on their prized asset.
Bayern Munich could be a likely destination. Munich are currently a team in transition, with several of their players having reached the wrong side of 30; however, they may be put off by Coutinho’s high wages and already have the option to sign James Rodriguez on a permanent deal from Real Madrid. James appears to be the most viable solution the Bavarian giants.
Liverpool or Man United may come calling for Philipe Coutinho, but whether Coutinho would fancy a move back to England remains to be seen. Coutinho generally operates on the left side of an attacking trio or as a number 10; both English clubs have numerous options in this position and Coutinho may not get the starting birth he desires. Additionally, it has been reported that his family struggled to adapt to life in England, so a swift return seems unlikely.
PSG would appear to be Coutinho’s most viable destination, with the resources for any player on the planet; however, the club has been involved in financial fair play allegations since signing Neymar and . Whether the could afford to add Coutinho to their all-star set-up remains to be seen. However, if a transfer is financially feasible, Coutinho could be one of the key pieces in a PSG squad tasked with winning the Champions League. If so, they could make a large offer for the Brazilian.
Our model values Philippe Coutinho at £34.32m. However, as always mentioned, this doesn’t account for a player’s form, ability or marketability. After accounting for these factors, the reported €80m asking price seems reasonable.
However, with interest in Coutinho’s services likely to be relatively low, the Catalans would be advised to hold onto the Brazilian for at least another season; unless PSG make a bid that cannot be refused. Whilst his form in La Liga has been criticised, he has been Barcelona’s most influential player in the Champions League behind the talismanic Lionel Messi.
Next season, more realistic destinations may be available for Coutinho and so a sale in the 2020 summer window could be likely should he not prove himself in La Liga. For the near future though, Barcelona should be wary of giving up on one of their prized assets too early.