News flash, Philippe Coutinho is FC Barcelona’s costliest player ever.
After a protracted transfer romance that lasted for a while, Barca finally got their man. It is rumoured that Messi and Suarez influenced the transfer because, and let’s be frank, Coutinho was on fire back then at Liverpool.
During the second half of the season (he was bought in January, 2018), Coutinho did just enough to convince Barca faithful that he has what it takes to be the next Brazilian wonder at Camp Nou after Neymar’s departure left a gap to be filled at the club.
In the 2018/2019 season however, Coutinho underperformed to the chagrin of supporters and management. After all, you can’t spend €160m and not be mad when your investment is not making appropriate returns.
Let’s go back a little. Barca has been fond of buying Liverpool best players. They did it with Javier Mascherano and Suarez, and it worked perfectly well. Both players would go on to leave huge marks at Camp Nou, of course with enough titles to celebrate for their efforts and individual brilliance.
Coutinho on the other, the last of the Liverpool Mohicans at the Catalan side, is yet to convince anyone that Barca didn’t overpay for his services.
But, to his advantage, the Brazilian has shown bright sparks here and there, although Barca management under Josep Bartomeu got fed up with the player and sent him on loan to Bayern Munich in the 2019/2020 season.
Coutinho reignited his game at the Bavarian side, and was a key player in the 8-2 demolishing of his parent club. Bayern Munich would go on to win the Champions League and the former Liverpool star finally wore the coveted winners medal that eluded him for years.
His season stats for the German side didn’t go unnoticed, prompting a return to FC Barcelona. Although there were many transfer stories about his next move, Ronald Koeman insisted Coutinho was part of his plan for the 2020/2021 season.
He featured in the first few games of the season and seemed like he was getting into his elements when injury struck. He has been out since then but has undergone the necessary therapy and recovery. Once again, he is back in the team and was even named in the squad that faced Juventus at the Joan Gamper Trophy over the weekend.
The question that remains though is, will the real Coutinho finally stand up now that Messi is no longer in the team? Is he finally going to reclaim his lost glory and help La Blaugrana push for titles and win them this season? Will he finally deliver the Coutinho-esque performances that were reminiscent of his Liverpool days?
A lot remains to be seen though and we keep hoping that the Coutinho Barca shelled out €160m to buy will finally stand up to his name – If Barca end up with him again this season. After all, the transfer window is still open, and the Spanish giants has now mastered the art of surprise.