The transfer window slams shut on Tuesday night, and unless there’s a huge surprise, Philippe Coutinho will still be a Barcelona player on Wednesday morning.
Unable to shift him on because of an appalling injury record and an astronomical salary, the Catalans have been lumbered with paying the Brazilian for at least another six months as an absolute minimum.
The issue for Ronald Koeman is where to play him. The club’s record signing isn’t likely to be stuck on the bench, but with Ansu Fati on the way back, there’s a clear starting front three which is Fati, Antoine Griezmann and Memphis Depay.
Not to mention Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite.
If the Dutchman wants Coutinho to play his more natural attacking midfield game, there’s already Riqui Puig, Sergi Roberto, Pedri, Yusuf Demir and Frenkie de Jong that can fulfil such a role.
One could argue that with such strength in depth in those areas, the Catalans should easily be able to cope with the loss of Lionel Messi, and that’s true to an extent.
The reality is the Coutinho situation is another headache that Ronald Koeman doesn’t need.