Ronald Koeman Wants to Keep Philippe Coutinho at Barcelona

Tom Gott
Aug 24, 2020, 9:36 AM GMT+1
Philippe Coutinho will be handed a Barcelona lifeline
Philippe Coutinho will be handed a Barcelona lifeline / David Ramos/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

New Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman is eager to keep Philippe Coutinho at Camp Nou this summer, despite rumours the Brazilian could be loaned out to Arsenal.

After sealing his £142m move from Liverpool in January 2018, Coutinho endured a nightmare 18 months at Barcelona and was shipped off on loan to Bayern Munich last summer, with the initial hope being that the Champions League winners would trigger their option to sign him permanently.

Coutinho won the Champions League with Bayern
Coutinho won the Champions League with Bayern / Pool/Getty Images

Bayern are not expected to push for a permanent deal as the agreed fee is in excess of £100m, which has prompted rumours that Arsenal are keen to give Coutinho a chance to come back to the Premier League on loan.

That did seem like the most likely option, but after Coutinho contributed to Barça's 8-2 loss to Bayern and Quique Setién was replaced with Koeman, a new door seems to have been opened. According to Mundo Deportivo, the new boss wants Coutinho to stay.

Koeman is eager to arrange a meeting with Coutinho as soon as possible to determine whether or not he actually wants to say, with the manager keen to use Coutinho as part of his new-look midfield.

Koeman believes Coutinho has a future at Camp Nou
Koeman believes Coutinho has a future at Camp Nou / JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

Playing in such a role did not work for Coutinho in the past - he was initially billed as the long-term replacement for Andrés Iniesta in midfield - so whether he would want to stick around and risk further criticism from fans remains to be seen.

Speaking to Movistar (via AS) after Sunday's Champions League final victory, Coutinho confessed he has a decision to make about his future.

"I haven't thought about [a return]," he began. "Until now I was only thinking about the final. Now I have to go back. What I can say is that I want to work and succeed and we'll see what happens. I don't know if that'll be in Barcelona."

Coutinho has been tipped to join Arsenal
Coutinho has been tipped to join Arsenal / DeFodi Images/Getty Images

It was Coutinho's dream to make it at Camp Nou, but that was before his disasterous 18 months put a dampener on things. He may relish the chance to rebuild his reputation, but could also look to call time on his Barcelona career and move on.

Arsenal are understood to still be keen on a loan for Coutinho, so it appears as though the ball is in his court this summer.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

facebooktwitterreddit