Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho is rumoured to be considering his future with the club after his dream move to Camp Nou has turned sour and could now move on just 18 months after becoming the third most expensive player in history.
The deal that took Coutinho from Liverpool to Barça in January 2018 was worth a reported €160m, including add-ons. The Brazilian began life at Camp Nou well enough, but he has failed to carry that early form into his first full season and has slipped down the pecking order.
Suggestions that he could leave so quickly have been circulating for a number of months already, with the player even being linked with a shock move to Manchester United, and the latest gossip from Catalonia implies Coutinho might actually be ready to call it quits.
SPORT notes that the ex-Premier League star has 'a month' to make his choice, alleging he appears more inclined to leave than stay. It is claimed that Coutinho acknowledges how difficult a decision it would be to move on, but that it could be the best thing for his career.
After often being limited to a substitute role this season, the report goes on to suggest that Coutinho is seeking to return to the kind of status he enjoyed at Liverpool where he established himself as one of the best players in the world. He apparently wants to be the star at a leading club in Europe but knows that would never be possible at Barça with Lionel Messi still around.
The report is careful to stress that Coutinho has the utmost respect and admiration for Messi.
However, SPORT also notes that Barcelona are not looking to sell as the club hierarchy still has faith in Coutinho. There is still said to be complete 'harmony' between the club and the player's camp.
During a question and answer session on his YouTube channel this week, Spanish football expert and author Guillem Balague also insisted Barça do not want to sell the 26-year-old.
"There's no intention to sell Coutinho. He has to improve, certainly, we haven't seen his best version. But Barcelona don't have the intention of selling him. That's what they're saying," he said.
"I'm convinced that behind the stories is a real push to make him attractive to the Premier League in case Barcelona want to sell him. There's been meetings with representatives in Barcelona and the conclusion is they're not moving and Coutinho is very important to the side.
"Do they say that because that's what they must say at the moment?"
It was rumoured earlier this month that Coutinho would not want to return to former club Liverpool or join another Premier League team after his family apparently struggled in England. The source for that gossip also claimed Barça would start listening to offers at €80m.