Not happy with suggesting that none of the La Masia graduates have impressed him enough for them to make a dent in the first team, Quique Setien is risking the wrath of the masses with his suggestion that Philippe Coutinho has a future at Barca after all.
Although the Brazilian did well enough when he first joined the club, he quickly tailed off.
Ernesto Valverde had been blamed for utilising him out of position, that he was trying to put a square peg in a round hole, but that neatly bypassed the fact that Coutinho’s form became generally poor and his body language awful.
The fingers in the ear celebration alone should see to it that he never pulls on the Blaugrana again.
Even if we were to take the view that actually, yes, he was harshly treated by the previous regime, he’s done nothing of note at Bayern Munich to suggest that he would be an asset under Setien.
In a team that is roaring towards their 29th Bundesliga title, Coutinho hasn’t stood out, and that’s a damning indictment.
Trying to persuade him to stay is more than likely a face saving exercise to stop the board from getting further abuse.
Let’s be honest, a club record signing at €160m being allowed to leave for €80m... that’s depreciation for you! And that’s not even taking the coronavirus pandemic into account.
There’s a possibility that Coutinho could be sent back to the Premier League with Chelsea already in talks allegedly, but unwilling to match Barca’s ‘half price’ valuation.
Another price drop means that they (or any other club) won’t have parted with much more than a third of what Barca did for his services, and for that alone the board should hang their heads in shame.
As for Setien, he’s been at the helm for 100 days on Wednesday, and he’s certainly had a varied Camp Nou existence.
Three games lost including the Clasico, somehow still atop the La Liga table, almost dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Ibiza, apologising for his manic assistant’s outburst...
The Cantabrian has certainly packed more into these past few months than many of his predecessors, and though he was someone who many wanted to see in charge, since he’s actually taken up the post, the jury remains out on just how well suited he is.
Bringing back Coutinho will at least suggest he’s his own man and won’t take his cues from what others want, but he has to be 100 per cent certain that so doing is the right move.
If it turns out that it isn’t, and many would argue that’s bound to be the case, then Setien could find himself quickly following the Brazilian out of the exit door a few months from now.