Has Philippe Coutinho Turned A Corner At Barcelona?4 min read
One swallow doesn’t make a summer, or so the saying goes, and so Philippe Coutinho will have to add some more meat to the bone after delivering a performance of quality against Eibar.
However, his level throughout the 3-0 win over the Basques was so good that it’s worth pondering whether he’s finally turned the corner after a disappointing few weeks.
In the not too distant past, column inches were filled with words on how Ousmane Dembele was on his way out of the Camp Nou after failing to understand what it means to be a Barcelona player.
To his credit, the Frenchman has had the bit between his teeth for the last few weeks and has deservedly usurped the Brazilian in the pecking order.
Taking His Chances
Therefore, it was something of a surprise when Ernesto Valverde plumped for Coutinho at the weekend, but it was a master stroke given that, whilst Eibar are often dogged opponents, they’d lost all eight previous games played against the Catalans.
It was the perfect opportunity for Coutinho to get back some much-needed confidence, and it didn’t take long before the ‘old’ player made an appearance.
Nothing fancy, just the sharp and incisive play that we’d been used to seeing, and with a goal threat each time he was in possession.
Will Coutinho Be Leaving The Nou Camp?
In the week when it became common knowledge that Neymar is practically begging Barcelona to take him back – despite what his father says – his countryman needed to show up… and he did.
There’s even been rumours that a swap deal between the pair could take place in the summer.
Whilst that’s fanciful to say the least, as Barcelona couldn’t afford him even taking into account any fee for Coutinho, the former Liverpool man will know that if he can’t deliver on a consistent enough basis, he’ll be shown the door and replaced eventually.
The Blaugrana simply can’t afford to carry passengers, especially not those that cost €160 million, the second most expensive player in the world.
Forget About The Price Tag
Of course, the size of the transfer fee shouldn’t really be a discussion point, but invariably this is always the case. Coutinho needs to live with that pressure and deal with it. He has to become the difference maker again.
To ensure that when Valverde is picking the team that he’s one of the first names on the sheet, not the likes of Arturo Vidal or Arthur Melo.
The coach now has a delicate juggling act to keep everyone happy, but that’s something that, apparently, all coaches profess to wanting to have; strength in every position and players at their maximum each week.
If Coutinho isn’t careful he’ll dig himself a trench that he can’t get out of, but if we see more of the standard that he displayed against Eibar, and earlier in the campaign, then Barca will still have a world class game-changing exponent on their hands.