Barcelona could reportedly be set to welcome back Philippe Coutinho this summer when his loan spell with Bayern Munich comes to an end.
As noted by BBC Sport, the Brazilian playmaker joined the reigning Bundesliga champions on a season-long loan deal while they had an option to buy included in the agreement worth €120m.
The 27-year-old hasn’t been able to rediscover his best form with the Bavarian giants this season as he has managed nine goals and eight assists in 32 appearances, while he is currently sidelined by an ankle injury and is unavailable after the Bundesliga resumed last weekend.
Now, Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed that they haven’t exercised the option to sign him outright and that it has in fact now expired.
“The option has already expired and we have not exercised it, now we will have to complete the squad planning for next season and we will see if the player still may or may not have a role to play with us,” he told Der Spiegel, as quoted by AS.
With that being the case, that ultimately moves Coutinho closer to heading back to the Camp Nou this summer when his loan deal expires as things stand, but there is of course time for the situation to change.
As hinted at by Rummenigge above, their decision essentially rules out them splashing out €120m on the Brazilian international, but if they do wish to keep him next season, they could enter into fresh negotiations with Barcelona over a new transfer fee.
Further, AS note that although coach Quique Setien has publicly suggested that he would like to work with Coutinho as he left prior to his appointment, a return to the Premier League has been mooted and any funds raised by a sale could provide the Catalan giants with an important financial boost to land their own transfer targets, namely Lautaro Martinez from Inter who is specifically mentioned.
In turn, it appears certain that Barcelona will not receive €120m for Coutinho from Bayern this summer, and as things stand, he will be back with the club at the end of the season. What they decide from that point onwards remains to be seen as he could be given a second chance to prove his worth with them or he may find himself heading out the exit door again.