There are various tactical aspects at stake, but both Barcelona and Philippe Coutinho’s agents are going to start trying to find an exit for the Brazilian from Camp Nou.
For now, nobody has shown their cards or their true intentions. Neither Coutinho nor Barca, who have told his agents they can start looking at the market for a move.
Coutinho has not lived up to expectations. With De Jong coming and De Ligt on the way, as well as Antoine Griezmann potentially, Barca want to make money to spend.
Coutinho is a hostage of his own crisis of self-confidence (lack of it) and creativity (lack of it). He knows he needs to relaunch his career elsewhere to smile again.
As SPORT said in March, Coutinho told some national team friends that he was thinking of leaving.
His agents were summoned to meet the Blaugrana sports management, just after the second leg of the UCL quarter-final against United, when Philippe dedicated an ugly celebration to the press after he managed to score a goal. At this summit, the representatives did not at any time express Coutinho's desire to leave Barcelona.
In that meeting, Barça, through its top sports executive, Pep Segura, also showed no doubt about the Brazilian's continuity. Moreover, they told the agents that the club had maximum confidence in the Brazilian, before facing the key tie against Liverpool. In fact, the footballer again showed flashes of his quality in the build uo that could have foreshadowed a resurrection before facing his former side.
However, the historic humiliation in Anfield seems to have precipitated an inevitable decision: to seek an exit for Philippe that benefits all parties. Here the interests of both parties converge. If you do not keep the understanding and the complicity that has been seen between the Blaugrana leadership and the representatives of the Brazilian, Kia Joorabichian and the Brazilian Giuliano Bertolucci, a viable transaction will be impossible.
Now it's up to the Blaugrana management to open the game up and communicate to Coutinho’s people that they want to put him on the market this summer. And, from then on, both the footballer and Barça will need to row in the same direction. Without synergy, it will not be possible move him to at another club.
The sale of the most expensive player in club history does not seem easy at all. First, because the exorbitant price of its acquisition (140 million euros fixed plus 20m in variables) that requires a sale above the 100 million euro barrier if the Blaugrana do not want to make big losses in this operation, something that without a doubt the CEO, Òscar Grau, will not accept. Barça will not give in.
And, the second obstacle to be overcome is the player's salary, which is close to 14 million net per season. Coutinho is not planning on lowering that given he has four years to run on his Barca deal. Here the side that will not take a step back is the player’s.
The equation of looking for a buyer that approaches 120 million euros and in addition, guarantees the income that the Brazilian has now reduces the chances of Coutinho leaving - even though plenty at Camp Nou would love for that to happen.