Philippe Coutinho has moved to Bayern Munich on loan from Barcelona with an option to buy at the end of the season.
Bayern Sign Philippe Coutinho on Loan with Option to Buy
The season long loan deal for Philippe Coutinho sees Bayern pay his full salary plus a loan fee. That fee is €8.5 million ($12.5 million) and it includes an option to buy for €120 million ($177 million) at the end of the season.
It seems like the best move for Coutinho as Bayern have a specific need for a player with his skill whereas Barcelona clearly don’t. It seems strange that someone as talented as Coutinho who is still an automatic starter for Brazil despite his struggles at club level can’t find a place in this team Barcelona team.
Philippe Coutinho Never Fit in at Barcelona
The immediate problem for Philippe Coutinho at Barcelona was his role in the team. In the Barcelona’s system, they prioritize quick passing moves when building up their attack. Coutinho thrives when he holds the ball for as long as possible while he looks for the best option. Barcelona already have a player that does that and he happens to be one of the greatest of all time, Leo Messi.
At first Philippe Coutinho did find a certain amount of success playing out wide in a 4-4-2 where he had freedom to move around the pitch. This year he played out wide on the left of a 4-3-3 and that really isn’t his game. At Liverpool he played as a left sided midfielder with the freedom to cut inside and look for his shot. That’s also the role he plays for the Brazilian national team.
Arthur’s Emergence Was the Beginning of the End
It must be a little awkward that his countryman Arthur essentially took his place. While Arthur does not provide the same type of skill as Coutinho going forward, as a pure midfielder he does more. He is stronger on the ball and only holds onto it when trying to protect it from defenders around him. In that sense, he is more of a typical Barcelona central midfielder. To make matters worse, Coutinho’s new position had a player better suited on the roster as well, Ousmane Dembele. As a traditional winger, Dembele made more sense on the left wing and soon began to start over Philippe Coutinho.
While Coutinho and Arthur are perfectly capable of sharing a midfield as they do for Brazil, it’s due to them playing a different system. Brazil play more of a 4-2-3-1 which is a much narrower formation where Coutinho can cut inside and also switch places when Neymar when necessary. Carlos Valverde only allows Messi that type of freedom in his system.
Coutinho Wanted to Go Back to Liverpool
Before Bayern stepped in and made their offer, Coutinho had expressed a desire to go back to Liverpool on loan. There were rumors that a few Premier League sides were interested in his services but his representatives said that he would only be interested in Liverpool. Jürgen Klopp quickly dismissed the idea saying that it would be too expensive:
“It sounds a bit strange, but we could not afford. We have already spent the cash that we got for him.”-Jürgen Klopp
That cash he is referring to was spent on Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson and it has to be said that was the catalyst for Liverpool winning the Champions League and coming 1 point short in the Premier League. How ironic considering Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona so he could win the Champions League. He is still a world class talent and hopefully he can get his club career back on track in Germany.