Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has been talking about Philippe Coutinho lately and seems pretty happy with the Brazilian’s impact since arriving from Barcelona on loan over the summer.
Coutinho has managed two goals and four assists in 10 appearances (Transfermarkt) in all competitions for the Bundesliga champions this season, leading to praise from Rummenigge. While it’s looking greener for the Brazilian in Germany, it does beg the question of his future at Barcelona, if he does have one at the club.
“Philippe is a high-quality player. He has no star attitudes,” he said.
“He is a very pleasant person and he is very popular throughout the club. We are very satisfied with the transfer.
Barcelona might have looked on and off this season but still remain in good esteem as they lead the La Liga standings and are joint-top with Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League group.
Coutinho might have looked an irreplaceable player during his time at Liverpool but since his move to Barcelona, the 27-year-old hasn’t hit the heights expected of him and has looked a squad player at best.
It’s no surprise it recently emerged that the Brazilian doesn’t have a spot waiting for him at the Nou Camp despite his good form for Bayern Munich, according to Spanish outlet AS.
AS report that Bayern have the option to sign Coutinho at the end of the loan deal for £104million.
Bayern currently pay Coutinho’s £11m-a-year wages, on top of an initial £8m fee for the Brazilian.
Coutinho had been expected to make a massive impact at Barcelona having finally completed a £145m move from Liverpool in January 2018.
He started 38 games in total, scored 11 times and provided five assists (Transfermarkt) but never truly managed to win over the Catalan fans, and was made surplus to requirements by Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde.
The 27-year-old was pushed further down the pecking order in the summer with the arrival of Antoine Griezmann, and the emergence of 16-year-old Ansu Fati in the last couple of months means a return to the club for Coutinho looks unlikely.
Elsewhere in midfield, Frenkie De Jong has been a revelation in midfield for Barcelona since joining the club. The 22-year-old has been able to find time and space in every area of the pitch, and he plays the game at his own speed, which opposition and teammates alike must obey.
The youngster’s calmness on the ball has looked unnerving for his opponents, who are left unsure whether to allow him to wander towards his own corner flag to collect possession, or to press and watch him glide effortlessly past each tackle.
02': Frenkie de Jong assists Ansu Fati
07': Ansu Fati assists Frenkie de Jong
Barcelona make a flying start against Valencia. pic.twitter.com/6nacWJIWqw
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) September 14, 2019
What have De Jong’s performances resulted to? It’s led to lack of game time for the once-loved Ivan Rakitic and the Croatian has had to voice out and consider his future as the idea of sitting down on the bench is not something he’ll want to get used to. It all points to the fact that competition in general is now tougher at Barcelona and reputation alone is not good enough to force a spot in the starting lineup, let alone see consistent game-time.
Coutinho should also have a re-think about his long-term future in Germany. In the first case, the Brazilian wasn’t Bayern’s first-choice attacking option and they only turned to him when their main target Leroy Sane from City suffered a nasty injury that was to keep him out for six months.
The Bavarians have been long term admirers of Sane and it’s very much expected they will return for his services when the season is over. Aged 23 and with many more peak years ahead of him, Sane does look a better investment than Coutinho does and it could all mean the former Liverpool man could once again find himself in the situation of waiting patiently for a club who will value his services well enough.
Should Bayern not take up the option to sign Coutinho permanently, Barcelona chiefs believe the Premier League would be his most likely destination.
He was linked with a return to Liverpool in the summer, while Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United were also rumoured to be keeping an eye on the playmaker.
Coutinho has been playing some decent football with Bayern but his future at the club is still very much uncertain and certainly doesn’t belong in Barcelona as well.