Why Liverpool Re-Signing Unwanted Philippe Coutinho Wouldn’t Be as Mad as it Sounds

?Since joining German champions Bayern Munich on loan from Barcelona last summer, Philippe Coutinho has struggled to make an impact and nail down his place.

On face value, six goals and five assists in 16 Bundesliga appearances isn’t a bad return for a midfielder. However, three of those goals and two assists came in just one game against Werder Bremen.

In case you can’t work it out yourself, that means he has picked up just three goals and three assists in his 15 other games, which isn’t massively inspiring considering his cost.

Philippe Coutinho

More than that he ranks only 29th in the Bundesliga charts for key passes and 46th for successful dribbles. He is way up in eighth for shots (46) but alarming few of those – the majority of which have come from outside of the box – have been converted.

As a result, ?reports now claim that ?Bayern are unlikely to sign the Brazilian permanently for the pre-agreed €120m next summer, unless his form drastically picks up, instead allowing him to return to Catalonia.

This will leave Coutinho in a state of limbo. Bayern don’t want him. ?Barca don’t want him. Where next for a player who was once considered one of the world’s best playmakers?

Well maybe, just maybe, Jurgen Klopp should bring him back to Liverpool.

Let’s get things straight: ?Liverpool did absolutely the right thing when they sold Coutinho for £120m+ and used that money to fund deals for Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and the rest. It transformed the Reds and made them European champions for the sixth time, and – dare I say it  – soon to be ?Premier League champions.

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However, should the 27-year-old be made available for the right price, then Liverpool could make yet another smart transfer move and bring him back to Anfield.

Coutinho knows the Premier League, and has played in a Jurgen Klopp system before. He was also pretty good in it. Therefore, he wouldn’t need time to adjust, and there is no denying the quality he would add to Liverpool’s midfield and attack.

He was also evidently a fan favourite, and despite the fact that his form (and popularity) dipped when he was eyeing a move to Barcelona, the Liverpool faithful would likely sing his name once more should he grab a goal on his debut. 

Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho may relish a return to Anfield too. He needs a move to reignite his career, and where better than the place he flourished and matured into the star he is today? This could be the fresh (re)start he needs.

However, where would he fit in? 

This Liverpool side are, of course, currently enjoying a season of near-unparalleled brilliance, and appear to be romping to their first Premier League title in record-breaking style. How can you squeeze a rogue, potentially divisive player into a side that is running like a well-oiled machine?

Well, he’s definitely not shifting any of the front three. ?Sadio Mane, ?Mohamed Salah and ?Roberto Firmino have their places cemented in this Liverpool side. 

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Looking at the Reds midfield, it is full of hard-working players and characters who are willing to run and hustle. This is what makes them so tough to beat, and it means the front three can also flourish.

However, if we are being really, really picky, Liverpool sometimes, sometimes struggle to open up sides who sit back and park the bus against them. Remember Bramall Lane earlier this season? Liverpool were lucky to snatch a 1-0 win which solely came after a shocking mistake from Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

Also, Liverpool’s only dropped points this season was at Old Trafford. Manchester United put the coach in park, and Klopp’s men simply couldn’t break them down. A late Adam Lallana goal salvaged a point for them which also came from a defensive mistake.

Adam Lallana

In recent weeks, they edged 1-0 wins against both Tottenham, Everton and Wolves – matches they very easily could have dropped points in.

But perhaps, having a playmaker of the calibre and class of Coutinho in those games could have turned those 1-0 wins into bigger margins, and future draws or defeats into victories. He’s someone who can open doors, someone who can produce a bit of magic out of nothing. How many time did we see Coutinho smash in a stunning goal from miles out for Liverpool out of simply nowhere?

Of course, he doesn’t have to play every game. Some games will require a midfield of ?Georginio Wijnaldum, ?Jordan Henderson and ?Fabinho. But some games may also require the little Brazilian to start in place of Henderson for example, where he can be the man tasked with breaking open a really solid defence.

Philippe Coutinho


If he is made available for the right price – not the €120m Bayern have been quoted – then it is a deal that may just make a fair bit of sense. 

When you’re operating at Liverpool’s level, It’s hard to find players, any players, who can actually improve the team. Coutinho might just do that, and Liverpool would certainly improve him again.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘Seriously Considering’ Arsenal Future Amid Barcelona Interest

?Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is said to be seriously considering his future at the club amid ongoing speculation linking him with a move to Barcelona.

The Catalan giants are in the market for a new striker to provide immediate cover during Luis Suarez’s four-month injury absence, as well as long-term competition and depth.

Luis Suarez

With Aubameyang the highest profile player linked so far, new head coach Quique Setien confirmed earlier this week that plans for a new ‘number nine’ are being discussed.

According to a report from Mundo Deportivo (MD), the Gabon international is giving serious thought to leaving Arsenal because of the interest from Camp Nou.

It is suggested that Barcelona have even been given the green light from the player’s camp to indicate Aubameyang’s interest.

The report makes the point that Barça are well aware of Aubameyang’s contract situation, as well as his footballing preferences. His current Arsenal contract expires in 2021, which puts the Premier League side in a vulnerable position given that no agreement on a new deal is on the horizon.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal are understandably determined not to lose their key man and top goalscorer. Mundo Deportivo’s article ultimately puts the onus on the player himself to make any transfer happen, suggesting that he has to make it known that he wants to leave. Barcelona may not have a chance without that.

Aubameyang became Arsenal’s record signing when he joined the club from Borussia Dortmund for around £56m just two years ago. He took a share of the 2018/19 Premier League Golden Boot and has scored 57 times in 91 Arsenal appearances in all competitions to date.

In a potential deal as complicated as Aubameyang’s, the main thing against Barcelona is time, with just eight days until January transfer windows across Europe close.

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Barça have also been linked with Girona star Cristhian Stuani and Valencia’s Rodrigo in their hunt for a new forward. Both have been long-term targets. This time last year, the Catalans ended up making the ill-fated signing of former Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng on a short-term loan.


For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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Dani Olmo En Route to Germany for RB Leipzig Medical After Destination is Finally Decided

?Dani Olmo is set to imminently join Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig, ended the speculation surrounding his future following recent links with Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Wolves and AC Milan, as well as Manchester United and Chelsea.

Olmo, who starred for Spain at last summer’s Under-21 European Championship and has since made his senior international debut, has been with current club Dinamo Zagreb since the age of 16 when he left Barcelona’s La Masia.

Dani Olmo

With no concrete interest from Manchester United or Chelsea in the end, and Barcelona and Atletico ultimately opting against pursuing a deal, the final race for the 21-year-old’s coveted signature appeared to be between Leipzig, Milan and Wolves.

As late as Wednesday night, Gianluca Di Marzio believed Milan were not completely out of it. But developments on Thursday morning suggest Olmo will imminently move to Leipzig instead.

According to ?AS, the deal between the Bundesliga leaders and Dinamo has been agreed at €30m, with a further €15m of add-ons taking the overall package to €45m. The Spanish publication also states that Olmo has agreed a five-and-a-half year contract until June 2025.

It is suggested that Leipzig’s keenness, as well as their ability to offer Champions League football – something Milan and Wolves cannot – has been key in Olmo’s decision making.

Croatian outlet Sportske Novosti has also reported on the Leipzig deal. Their estimate regarding the money involved is a lower €35m, including bonuses and a future sell-on clause.

Dani Olmo

The report makes it clear that while not every detail has been settled, ‘virtually everything has been agreed’. It is also said he is already en-route to Leipzig to undergo a medical.

Wolves were very recently rumoured to have offered €25m for Olmo. Atletico are thought to have been close to signing him last summer, while Barcelona’s priorities in the current transfer window are focused on landing a new striker.


For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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UD Ibiza 1-2 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Woeful Barça Net Late to Break Host’s Hearts

A dreadful Barcelona side narrowly avoided one of their biggest ever shocks as Antoine Griezmann’s strike deep into injury time handed the visitors a 2-1 win over UD Ibiza, in turn breaking the host’s hearts and knocking them out of the Copa del Rey.

In stunning fashion the Spanish found themselves in front. Ángel Rodado won a free kick on the halfway line to relieve pressure, sending the ball out wide to Rai Nascimento, who fed Javi Perez to sidefoot an effort that went beyond Neto via teammate Josep Caballe Martin.

UD Ibiza v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey: Round of 32

?Ibiza came within inches of doubling their lead before the break, with Nascimento sitting Frenkie de Jong down in the box but unable to add the finishing touch and crashing his effort off the far post.

Creating absolutely nothing for 72 minutes, just ??Barça‘s second effort on target got the hugely-favoured visitors their opening goal. A neat threaded pass from ?Ivan Rakitic fed Antoine Griezmann, who slotted beyond Germán Parreño.

Thoroughly undeserved, Griezmann would have the final say as he raced through on goal before finishing low beyond Germán and sending Barcelona through to the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.


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Player Ratings

Starting XI: Germán (9); Kike (9), Gonzalo (9), Gomez (8), Aguilera (9); Mateo (8), Nunez (8), Lara (8); Caballe (9), Jareno (7), Nascimento de Oliveira (9)

Substitutes: Mendoza (7), Sibo (8), Carbia (8)


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Key Talking Point

Quique Setien

Awful, atrocious, limp, lifeless, uninterested, dire, dismal, woeful…..etc etc. Use whatever adjective you wish, what Barcelona put out on the island of Ibiza was more like a wretched hangover than a beach party in the blazing sun. 

But at the Estadio Municipal de Can Misses, when this particular island pops up in conversation, your immediate thought should be UD Ibiza, not whatever came into your head first. In the third tier of Spanish football, a dogged, determined and resolute outfit reside, and they just made one of world football’s best sides look immensely average.

The likes of Nelson Semedo, De Jong and Perez were mere passengers, but you could have chosen any other three players and said the same. Dominating possession, there was nothing to show for it until the 72nd minute. Ibiza more than held their own, with any single player in the side showing more fight than the entire Barça team combined.

Yet, somehow the Catalan giants managed to pull it out of the bag in the dying embers as extra time loomed large, condemning the hosts to an exit from the competition they fought so valiantly in.

Sure, Barça won, but did they deserve it? No. Were they in any way shape or form good on the night? No. Will they care?… No.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Neto (3); Roberto (2); Lenglet (2), Firpo (2); De Jong (2), Semedo (2), Fati (4), Rakitic (3), Puig (3); Perez (1), Griezmann (4)

Substitutes: Alba (3), Arthur (2), Vidal (2)


Ansu Fati

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Nobody was good for Barcelona. Not one player.

Which means the only conceivable thing to do is to choose the least bad player. That is Ansu Fati, who at least tried to make things happen for the visitors, although he was so often halted in his tracks by some magnificent Ibiza defending. 

Playing against a third division side with a host of big names in your lineup, it shouldn’t be that the player who showed the most fight is a 17-year-old. He was very wasteful in front of goal, but at least he tried.

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Looking Ahead

Ibiza are back in Segunda Division B action as they host SS Reyes on Sunday, while Barcelona travel to Valencia for Saturday’s La Liga clash


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Adama Traore Refuses to Rule Out a La Liga Return With Barcelona or Real Madrid in the Future

?Adama Traore has refused to rule out a return Barcelona while also admitting that he would consider an approach from Real Madrid in the future.

The Wolves winger has been in sensational form this season, registering four goals and six assists in the Premier League for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side. Traore first came to England in August 2015 when Aston Villa signed him from Barcelona for a fee of around £7m. 

Adama Traore

He then moved to Middlesbrough the following campaign, before being snapped up by Wolves in the summer of 2018 for £18m. 

Despite enjoying considerable success since moving to Molineux, the player conceded that he would certainly entertain the possibility of returning to La Liga if the opportunity presented itself in the future.

Back to Barça? I have no resentment, I have good memories. But if Madrid calls me I would rethink the same,” he said about a possible return to Spain, in an interview on the radio show ‘El Larguero (via ?Sport). 

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When asked about his departure from Camp Nou, Traore insisted that he does not regret his decision to leave the Catalan giants. 

There were certain problems with the club, misunderstandings. I decide to go out and grow as a player. I make that decision. I’d rather not talk about the history I had for the club. It was a decision I made at the time and I don’t regret it,” he stated. 

Wolves face the daunting task of hosting Premier League leaders Liverpool on Thursday evening. The Reds are yet to be defeated this season but Traore revealed that his side were not afraid of facing Jurgen Klopp’s high-flyers. 

Adama Traore

The games have to be played, no player comes out thinking he has lost. It is true that they have the league on track, but regardless of the team we have in front you have to face it,” the forward mused. 


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