Did anyone else worry when Coutinho scored twice in the Champions League quarter final on Friday night? Here was a player, after being told he’s not good enough for the Nou Camp, contributing to his own employers most humiliating European result in their history.
It logically led to the sacking of their manager and it’s expected in the next few days their former European Cup winner Ronald Koeman will return to the setting where he also won La Liga 4 times. Someone who’s been educated by the Dutch principles of playing the game the ‘right way’, it’s understandable that he would be a fan of how Coutinho plays. If, like most new bosses, he intends to give everyone a fresh chance to impress, our hopes of a loan deal look unlikely.
It would currently be hard to look the midfielder in the eye and say he can’t get an opportunity in the current Barca midfield, especially if the Brazilian completes a Domestic Treble.
So far this season he’s scored 11 goals and assisted 9. Someone who contributes 20 goals who didn’t cost you a transfer fee. It’s his wages, not his ability, that is the reason Bayern Munich won’t make his stay permanent.
With it uncertain when match day revenue is returning, very few are in a position to allow Barca to cash in, so the other option is to try one more time to build the midfield around him.
While he has to take responsibility for his move to Spain not working out, he’s never had an arm around his shoulder like he did at Liverpool.
Senior figures at the Nou Camp have realised that their problems are bigger than who’s in the dugout and they might be forced to rip things up and start again.
It means that Coutinho, for the first time, could play in Cataluña with far less politics going on, with even the likes of Messi and Pique losing some power.
It’s never been confirmed but it’s believed Messi had a major influence on who played and what formation. Not as in literally picking the team but making it clear to a President if he disagreed with tactics or style of play. That President would be aware the Argentine impacted elections as fans tended to agree with their best ever player.
That would mean a manager obliged to play Messi with his best friend Suarez and Coutinho on the left because there were fear to break up an old midfield. Anyone who dared go against that would have a Messi (whose effort can’t be questioned) making it apparent he’s not happy.
Koeman though has a strong personality, and if he wants to try Coutinho in a number 10 at the expense of Suarez, even Messi might fail to argue after an 8-2 thrashing.
Meanwhile over in London Raul Sanllehi has left Arsenal. Given he used to work at Barcelona, it was believed Raul was using his contacts to get a deal for Coutinho done.
Some believed the Brazilian was at our training ground last week. Yet a week is a long time in this sport. Suddenly Barca are having a clear out, opening up a place in their first XI while the man he was negotiating with at the Emirates is gone.
If Arsenal had made a 9 million offer 2 weeks ago, the answer would have been yes. Now all parties are confused. It could be another example of how our indecisiveness has cost us a chance to improve. We are not in a position where we can do what the Manchester clubs can do, so to attract top players we have to think outside the box.
Coutinho would be perfect at a time where we have zero creativity. If he flops, it’s cost you peanuts. If he’s amazing, it’s a bargain. Yet why do are fear this isn’t going to happen. I have seen it all before.
Arsenal FC …… scared to next the next step as usual…