Barcelona are reportedly now considering keeping Philippe Coutinho next season with Quique Setien said to want him at his disposal.
The 27-year-old endured a disappointing spell at the Nou Camp after arriving from Liverpool in January 2018, as he managed 21 goals and 11 assists in 76 appearances for the Catalan giants. Given they splashed out £142m on him, as per BBC Sport, that would have been well below their expectations.
In turn, he was shipped out on loan to Bayern Munich this season where he has bagged nine goals and eight assists in 32 outings, and so it remains to be seen whether or not the reigning Bundesliga champions opt to exercise their option to buy and sign him outright.
In the event that they opt against it, Sport now report that Barcelona are considering keeping Coutinho at the club next season with two main reasons cited for a potential change of heart.
It’s noted that given the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis and the subsequent effect it will likely have on spending this summer, Barca could struggle to secure the €90m that they want for the Brazilian international to ensure that they don’t suffer on a loss on him, as per the report.
Further, it’s suggested that Setien is convinced that he could be an effective part of his plans moving forward if he is used in his best position. With that in mind, if a suitable offer isn’t forthcoming, Coutinho could get a second chance at proving his worth to the Catalan giants next season.
If that happens, it remains to be seen if Setien can get the best out of him again, but given his talent and perhaps the lack of big spending this summer, it may well be in Barcelona’s best interests to stick with him and avoid losing him for less than his true valuation while saving themselves from having to splash out too.
If Coutinho were to struggle again though, given his contract runs until 2023, Barca would arguably have another chance to offload him for a fair price next summer if the market needs to recover from the pandemic first.