Selling Philippe Coutinho has been a priority since day one for Barcelona in the summer transfer window, and after weeks of behind-the-scenes work, it seems as though the Blaugrana are ready to make that happen.
That’s according to a long(ish) story by Diario SPORT, who claim that the Blaugrana have a “clear path” for Coutinho’s departure after negotiations with the player’s agent and silently working the market to get a sense of his value. There were no real offers on the table in the first few weeks of the window, but things have changed now.
Barça have two main options to make a deal happen: a big sale to recover the immense investment they made to sign Coutinho 18 months ago or a loan deal (including a big loan fee) with a mandatory purchase clause after a season on a slightly cheaper number. The Blaugrana understand Coutinho’s value has dropped since joining the club and are willing to take some sort of a loss, and a loan-and-buy (common in Italy, by the way) is a path they will go down if necessary.
The important thing here is that the report says Barça have an offer on the table, though they say the club are not giving any details away. The Premier League window shuts in a week, and there are some possibilities there: Arsenal have gotten creative in this transfer window with loans and installments, and they might be interested in that loan-and-buy for Coutinho if Unai Emery feels like they need one more attacker.
Manchester United have been rumored to sign Coutinho all summer, and they’re running out of options to improve the attack, especially if Romelu Lukaku leaves for Italy. They have the money to sign Coutinho straight-up, and that might be Barça’s biggest hope. Another interesting options? Manchester City, who might be selling Leroy Sané to Bayern Munich this weekend. If they do, is Coutinho an easy option for Pep Guardiola to pursue with just a few days left to sign players in England?
The fact is this is the first time we’ve seen some optimism from Barcelona regarding Coutinho’s departure, and that must mean something. How much it means only time will tell, but for the first time all summer we have actual teams that may actually want a player like Coutinho. That’s good news.