It’s fair to say Philippe Coutinho’s dream move to Barcelona hasn’t gone exactly gone to plan.
The club broke the bank to sign the Brazilian from Liverpool back in 2018, in a deal worth in excess of £130m, but in the summer of 2019 he was loaned to Bayern Munich.
During his spell with the Bavarians, he made 38 appearances in all competitions, scoring 11 goals and providing nine assists, but the Bundesliga club decided against pursuing a permanent transfer for the now 28-year-old.
Coutinho is currently out injured with a rupture of the outer meniscus and isn’t expected to be fit again until the end of May. His current contract at the Camp Nou is due to expire in the summer of 2023 but with Barcelona strapped for cash and the player clearly unhappy, he could/should be on the move this summer.
At 90min, we took a look at some of the clubs that should consider signing the attacking midfielder this summer and ranked them in terms of their suitability.
One of his former clubs, Liverpool know as well as anybody exactly what he is capable of. The Brazilian enjoyed some great times at Anfield, making 99 direct goal contributions in 201 appearances for the club.
He’d be available at far less than the Merseysiders sold him for and already has experience of working under the current boss Jurgen Klopp successfully.
The Reds tried to add further creativity to their midfield trio when they signed Thiago Alcantara last summer and although his quality is clear to see, for a number of reasons, he hasn’t had the impact some would have hoped for. Coutinho could fill the void he left in the squad, but it’s unlikely that they’ll bring him back.
Suitability rating: 6/10
Mikel Arteta’s side signed Martin Odegaard on loan in January with the Gunners boss desperate to add some further creativity to his ranks. The Norwegian has impressed since arriving in north London, however, according to recent reports, Real Madrid have no intention of selling him this summer.
In which case, the club could be in the market for a creative midfield player (again). They’ve been linked with Coutinho in the past – as have many clubs in recent seasons – and the fact Barcelona’s asking price is unlikely to be overly excessive, as well as his Premier League experience, could appeal to the Europa League quarter-finalists.
Suitability rating: 6.5/10
Spurs have been linked with a move for Coutinho on a number of occasions, most recently last summer when it looked as though Tanguy Ndombele may have been on the move.
At times recently, Jose Mourinho has selected Lucas Moura as a central attacking midfielder and although the former Paris Saint-Germain man has done well in the role, it is not his natural position whereas it is a role that would suit Coutinho perfectly.
Gareth Bale’s plans to return to Real Madrid at the end of the season mean Spurs could find themselves an attacker-light and could well be in the market for somebody capable of playing from wide or centrally.
Suitability rating: 7/10
Stefano Pioli has done an excellent job at Milan so far with the club on course for a long-awaited return to the UEFA Champions League. However, their most creative midfield player Hakan Calhanoglu’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season and if they’re unable to reach an agreement, they will certainly be in need of a new creator.
There have been mixed reports with regards to the negotiations over Calhanoglu’s future but as of now, no new deal has been signed. Coutinho has represented Milan’s city rivals Inter but he wouldn’t be the first player to represent both clubs during his career.
The 28-year-old’s arrival would add some much-needed experience to Milan’s young and talented core.
Suitability rating: 7/10
The Brazilian’s first club in Europe was the Nerazzurri after they paid a reported £3.4m to sign him from Vasco da Gama in 2008. Antonio Conte’s side are six points clear at the top of Serie A with a game in hand over AC Milan in second.
But for all the talent at their disposal, you could argue their current midfield trio lack the guile, creativity and the goal threat that Coutinho would bring.
If they’re able to get the job done and win their first Italian league title in over a decade their next aim will be to make an impact in Europe – a competition Coutinho has plenty of experience of playing in.
Suitability rating: 7.5/10
Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has been a long-term admirer of the Brazilian. However, prior to now, he never had the financial power required to add him to his team.
The Argentine coach has only been in the job at the Parc des Princes since January and with the backing of the club’s wealthy owners, it is only a matter of time before he begins to put his own stamp on the side.
His current midfield options are extremely functional but you could argue they’re missing a player with the creative ‘x-factor’ in there and so a move for Coutinho could tempt the Ligue 1 champions.
Suitability rating: 8/10