Philippe Coutinho will wear #14 this season once Javier Mascherano vacates it, according to a report in The Independent.
The #14 shirt holds special significance for FC Barcelona as it was worn by club legend Johan Cruyff. Cruyff himself wore #9 for the majority (or possibly all) matches during his stay at Barcelona, but wore 14 most of his career playing for Ajax and the Netherlands. He was not able to use 14 in La Liga because the rules prevented any player from the starting lineup to wear a number greater than 11. Despite this, the #14 is still closely associated with him, even in Barcelona.
Mascherano, who once also moved from Liverpool to the Camp Nou, is understood to be leaving by the end of this month to join Chinese side Hebei Fortune.
Another rumored possibility for Coutinho was to get Arda Turan’s #7 shirt, if the Turk moved on this transfer window. Or, he could wear a higher number - #24 is the lowest number immediately open.
If this report is true, however, Coutinho will wear the number associated with another attacker who came in a mega deal to Catalonia. The Brazilian must be hoping he can emulate the Dutch star.
Note: This post was edited to say that Cruyff wore #9 for the majority of matches for Barcelona. Check the comments for more details. -Luis