FC Barcelona’s most-expensive player of all time, Philippe Coutinho, is currently facing a race against time to be fit for the new season.
The club had been intent on selling him, however due to a knee knock that ended his last campaign prematurely, they could not put him in the shop window during Brazil’s Copa America title defense push which went right to the final where they lost to Lionel Messi’s Argentina at the Maracana.
Reports last weekend from the Catalan press claimed that coach Ronald Koeman is confident Coutinho can hit his “Liverpool level” again, and he will only be sold if an “unrefusable” offer comes in for him – as is the case with fellow misfit Antoine Griezmann.
Developments over the water in Coutinho’s former adopted homeland England may change his plight, however.
At Tottenham Hotspur, their star player – England captain Harry Kane – looks to be forcing a move to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City by not reporting for training at the start of this week like Lionel Messi.
Kane is said to have a gentelman’s agreement with chairman Daniel Levy that the latter is not honoring, yet while tied down in a deal until 2024, it is believed that only offers between a whopping $178-214 million will sway the North Londoners’ heads.
If the money does come in, they plan a raid on Coutinho – who would either be bought for a fee much less than the $198 million including add-ons Barca paid for him from Liverpool in early 2018, or taken on loan as seen when winning the Champions League and treble with Bayern Munich in 2019-2020.
With Coutinho’s own contract expiring in 2023, Barca may look to include an obligation to buy in any temporary assignment so as not to lose him for an even lesser fee next summer or as a free agent once he can become one.
His agent Kia Joorabchian boasting a strong relationship with Tottenham, he plans for his client “to return to the elite”, write Mundo Deportivo – though a return to Merseyside under Jurgen Klopp is not ruled out despite being a long shot.