Barcelona And Bayern Confirm Coutinho Loan Move

 

Barcelona have an “agreement in principle” to send Philippe Coutinho on loan to Bayern Munich, both clubs confirmed Friday.

Coutinho was left out of the squad for Barca’s La Liga opener against Athletic Bilbao on Friday, with club director Guillermo Amor confirming the Brazilian is close to joining Bayern.

“We can confirm that there is an agreement in principle for the loan of Coutinho to Bayern and we just have to finalise the deal,” Amor told Movistar, ahead of the game at San Mames.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic also confirmed the loan deal later on Friday.

READ ALSO: Athletic Bilbao Defeat Barcelona 1-0

“I can confirm that we were in Barcelona and have agreed terms with the player and his agent,” Salihamidzic told broadcaster ZDF following Bayern’s own league opener, a 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin.

“We have a good relationship with Barcelona. We are still missing a few details such as the signature and the medical, but we are happy to have got a player like him.”

Coutinho joined Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018 for an initial 120 million euros ($133 million), plus another 40 million euros in potential add-ons.

But despite huge excitement around Coutinho’s arrival, he has struggled to find his place at Camp Nou.

Initially tried in midfield, Coutinho was pushed into the front three by Ernesto Valverde last season in a bid to help him rediscover his best form.

Yet the 27-year-old was too often a bystander in games and some suggested his style and positioning clashed with Lionel Messi.

Gerard Pique was asked earlier this month about the possibility of Coutinho leaving. “I want him (Coutinho) to stay,” Pique said. “But at the end of the day it’s what he wants and I want him to be happy.”

At Bayern, the Brazilian will provide welcome reinforcement in attack following the departure of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery at the end of last season.

Coutinho’s departure to Bayern could also have implications for Barcelona’s hopes of re-signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca have already spent around 250 million euros this summer and it had been suggested PSG were keen for Coutinho to be included in any bid.

“There is a lot of talk about Neymar at the moment,” Amor added. “He is in the newspapers every day and I don’t think we should get into it now.

“Anything can happen while the market is still open but for now there is nothing and Neymar is a PSG player.”

Coutinho Opens Barcelona Account In Valencia Cup Tie

(Files) Barcelona’s Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho poses for a picture in Barcelona on January 7, 2018. Josep LAGO / AFP

Philippe Coutinho scored his first goal for Barcelona since moving from Liverpool in January during his new club’s Copa del Rey semi-final, second leg against Valencia on Thursday.

The 160 million-euro ($192 million) Brazilian midfielder was sent on for the start of the second half in the match at Mestalla for his fifth appearance for the club, and he netted within four minutes of his introduction.

Coutinho converted a Luis Suarez cross to put the holders 1-0 up on the night and 2-0 ahead on aggregate, leaving Valencia needing to score three goals without reply to make it through to the final.

The winners will face Sevilla, who beat Leganes 2-0 on Wednesday to advance 3-1 on aggregate from their semi-final tie.

AFP

Coutinho Handed Cruyff’s 14 Shirt

(Files) Barcelona’s new Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho poses for a picture in Barcelona on January 7, 2018. Josep LAGO / AFP

 

Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho has been named in the Barcelona squad for Thursday’s Copa del Rey clash against Espanyol, his first call-up since his 160 million euros ($194 million, £142 million) move from Liverpool.

Coutinho, who has been handed the number 14 shirt vacated by China-bound Javier Mascherano, had been sidelined by a thigh injury since his drawn-out transfer saga came to an end on January 6.

The 14 shirt was also worn by the club’s Dutch legend Johan Cruyff who died in 2016.

Coutinho has been cleared to make his debut at Camp Nou as Barcelona look to overturn a 1-0 defeat to Espanyol in the first leg of their quarter-final clash.

Coutinho spent six months with Barcelona’s city rivals on loan in 2012.

Club captain Andres Iniesta and striker Paco Alcacer were also included in the 19-man squad for Thursday’s game as was Colombian defender Yerry Mina, antother transfer window recruit.

AFP

Liverpool Couldn’t Stop Coutinho Exit, Says Klopp

(Files) Barcelona’s new Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho poses for a picture in Barcelona on January 7, 2018. Josep LAGO / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted Friday he had no option but to allow Philippe Coutinho to join Barcelona, refusing to rule out an exit for striker Daniel Sturridge during the January transfer window.

Brazil international Coutinho joined the Spanish giants earlier this week for 160 million euros ($194 million, £142 million) after failing to force through the move during the summer transfer window.

“There was no other option,” said Klopp. “I knew there was a moment when it would come up again in this transfer window and it came up massively.

“It would have been very difficult if we say — and we could have done of course with his contract — ‘you have to stay here’.

“(I asked myself) ‘To use him as a player in the second part of the season, did it make sense? Do I think I can use him and can he help us?’

“It became 100 per cent clear, no chance. He was not ready to do that anymore.”

Klopp said Liverpool tried everything to convince Coutinho to stay but had to accept his heart was set on his dream move to Barca.

Asked about reports that Sturridge could leave the club, the Liverpool boss was non-committal.

“That is part of the transfer window so I have nothing to say about it,” he said. “We will see. Until January 31 there are a lot of things that can happen in the transfer window, not only with Daniel.”

Sturridge, who has struggled to pin down a starting berth in the Premier League against strong competition from Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, has only just returned to fitness after being out of action since early December,

Liverpool have been looking at the possibility of bringing forward RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita’s already agreed summer transfer to this month to offset the loss of Coutinho.

But this week Leipzig again told Liverpool he would not be arriving before next season.

“There is nothing to say about that,” Klopp said. “He is a player of Leipzig, that’s what I know, and will be here in the summer. I have nothing to say about all the rest.”

Liverpool were handed a boost ahead of Sunday’s visit of Premier League leaders Manchester City with the return to training of top scorer Salah.

The Egypt international, who has scored 23 goals in 29 appearances, has missed the past two matches with a groin problem.

“If nothing happens in this moment, Mo is back, he is training completely normally,” confirmed Klopp.

AFP

Coutinho Officially Joins Barcelona

Barcelona’s new Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho poses for a picture in Barcelona on January 7, 2018. Josep LAGO / AFP

 

Philippe Coutinho officially joined Barcelona on Monday, completing a move from Liverpool thought to be worth 160 million euros ($192 million), making it the third richest transfer in history.

Coutinho, 25, signed a contract in a ceremony alongside Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

More to follow…

Coutinho Hails ‘Dream Come True’ In Joining Barcelona

 

Barcelona’s new Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho poses for a picture in Barcelona on January 7, 2018. Josep LAGO / AFP

Philippe Coutinho has described his move from Liverpool to Barcelona as “a dream come true” after appearing at the Camp Nou for the first time on Sunday ahead of his official unveiling.

“Barca fans, I’m here now. It’s a dream come true! I hope to see you tomorrow,” said Coutinho, who will be presented to supporters on Monday, in a short video clip released by Barcelona.

The 25-year-old posed for photographers at the Camp Nou wearing a tracksuit top in the colours of the club a day after Barcelona confirmed a 160 million-euro ($192 million) deal to buy him.

It is the third-biggest transfer in football history and a club record deal for Barcelona.

He is due to officially sign his contract at 12:30 local time (1130 GMT), with an appearance on the Camp Nou pitch set and a press conference also set for Monday afternoon.

“Now I want to play, win trophies and make the supporters happy. Those are my objectives,” Coutinho told Barca TV.

Photo: Josep LAGO / AFP

The Brazilian has agreed a deal through to 2023 at the Camp Nou and is looking forward to playing alongside Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta, players he described as “idols”.

Coutinho has already played alongside Suarez for 18 months at Liverpool before the Uruguayan made the same move in 2014.

“Everybody knows about his quality. He has been playing at the highest level for years now and that is important,” Suarez told Barca TV about the new arrival.

“Now we need to make sure he feels at home because we know that changing club is always difficult, but I think he is the type of player who will fit well into the team.”

‘Versatile’

Barcelona fans see Coutinho as the long-term successor to Iniesta, and coach Ernesto Valverde is aiming to make the most of the Brazilian’s ability to play in a range of positions.

“I think he can bring a lot to the team. He scores and sets up goals, and going forward he can help us a lot as he can play both inside and out wide,” remarked Valverde after Barcelona’s comfortable 3-0 La Liga win over Levante on Sunday.

“He is versatile and we can take advantage of his versatility.”

The deal had been in the pipeline for months, but having previously tried to avoid talking about the Brazilian, Valverde can now look forward to welcoming him into his squad for a busy second half of the season.

“It is a signing that has been talked about for a long time, although it was not something I was keen to discuss,” said Valverde, whose team are still unbeaten in La Liga and sit nine points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table.

Capable of playing on the wing and in a more withdrawn midfield role, Coutinho’s arrival provides a wealth of new options to Valverde, although he will not be able to play in the Champions League knockout phase having already featured in the competition for Liverpool.

“We will wait until I have seen him train for a day at least until we talk about that,” added Valverde when pressed on where the ex-Inter Milan man would fit into his team.

“It is true that I have seen videos of him playing in different positions, for Liverpool and for his country. But let’s wait and see.

“I hope he adapts quickly, although good players adapt quickly to any circumstances.”

AFP

From Obscurity To Superstar Status: Coutinho’s Rise Is Complete

Coutinho Inspires Liverpool Rout Against Swansea
File photo

 

When Philippe Coutinho joined Liverpool in 2013, the Brazil forward was so lightly regarded that his signing was overshadowed by the arrival of Daniel Sturridge at Anfield earlier that month.

But five years later, Coutinho has become such a formidable force that his departure is being mourned by Liverpool fans around the world after Barcelona signed the Reds star on Saturday in a blockbuster transfer worth a reported £142 million ($192 million, 160 million euros).

Coutinho was just 20 and yet to fully harness his talents when Liverpool paid £8.5 million to bring him to the Premier League from Inter Milan, so perhaps it was not surprising that beating Southampton to his signature could not take the spotlight away from the capture of the highly-rated Sturridge from Chelsea.

It did not take long for Coutinho to seize the stage however and, while Sturridge’s injury-ravaged career is in danger of becoming an afterthought, the Brazilian is now one of the game’s most coveted players.

Coutinho’s against-the-odds rise is a tribute to a tenacious personality inherited from his close-knit working-class family back home in the tough Rocha district of Rio de Janeiro.

Now married to childhood sweetheart Aine, Coutinho once said: “My family is the foundation of everything in my life.”

He has needed that secure background to survive the slings and arrows of a career that might be glittering now, but for several years was full of potential pitfalls.

Having honed his natural gifts while playing futsal, the smaller indoor version of the sport, with brothers Cristiano and Leandro, the diminutive Coutinho was offered a trial by Vasco da Gama.

But Coutinho was so shy he clung to his father while the other youngsters warmed up.

“After a short while and some motivation, I was fine. When I actually started to play, it was all normal and natural. I wasn’t shy anymore, I was enjoying it,” he recalled.

The road was to get rougher for Coutinho, who was snubbed by Real Madrid when the Spanish giants passed up the chance to sign him from his Brazilian club for just £2.2 million in 2008.

– Commitment to his craft –

Instead, at age 16 he moved to Inter, where then manager Rafael Benitez hailed him as “the future of Inter”.

That bold prediction was quickly forgotten as Coutinho found it difficult to adjust to life in Italy, with loan spells at Vasco and Espanyol providing more first-team opportunities but little to suggest his future stardom.

Fortunately for Coutinho, Brendan Rodgers, then in charge at Liverpool, had spotted his potential when he helped Brazil win the Under-20 World Cup.

Coutinho accepted the challenge of moving to England, where the frenetic and physical pace of play can sometimes overwhelm foreign imports.

He hit the ground running and scored his first goal for Liverpool on his full debut in a 5–0 victory over Swansea in February 2013.

It helped that Coutinho is teetotal and a devout Christian with no time for the nightclub antics that have derailed the careers of so many of his peers.

That commitment to his craft fuelled Coutinho’s ascent and he quickly became an integral part of the Liverpool side that narrowly failed to end the club’s long wait to win the title in the 2013-14 season.

Once Liverpool’s star striker Luis Suarez was sold to Barcelona in 2014, it was Coutinho who assumed the mantle of the team’s driving force.

With 41 goals and countless assists in 152 league appearances for Liverpool, Coutinho was just as valuable to current boss Jurgen Klopp once he succeeded Rodgers.

But silverware has been elusive at Anfield and a yearning for success on the grandest stage made it inevitable that he would hand in a transfer request when Barcelona offered over £100 million to sign him in August last year.

Liverpool rejected Barca’s approaches then, but there was no such declaration of intent this time as the Reds finally bowed to Coutinho’s wishes on Saturday.

AFP

At Last, Barcelona Agree To Sign Liverpool’s Coutinho

Photo: Liverpoolfc.com

 

Barcelona on Saturday announced that they had agreed to sign Brazilian star Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in a deal reported to be worth up to 160 million euros ($192 million).

“Barcelona and Liverpool have reached an agreement for the transfer of Philippe Coutinho. The player will sign a contract for the rest of the season and five more years with a release clause of 400 million euros,” said a Barcelona statement.

The deal for the 25-year-old attacking midfielder will be the third richest in history after the 222 million euros that Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona for Brazilian star Neymar last year and the 120 million euros that Kylian Mbappe will cost PSG from Monaco once the French player’s loan period with the Ligue 1 champions is completed.

“It is with great reluctance that we -– as a team and club –- prepare to say farewell to a good friend, a wonderful person and a fantastic player in Philippe Coutinho,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told the club’s official website.

“It is no secret that Philippe has wanted this move to happen since July, when Barcelona first made their interest known.

“Philippe was insistent with me, the owners and even his teammates this was a move he was desperate to make happen.”

Barcelona had tried to sign Coutinho in the summer, but his departure now is a blow to Liverpool as the playmaker has just returned to top form after an injury-hit start to the season.

He scored six goals in the last seven games of 2017 to put his side firmly in the Champions League places.

Capturing Coutinho allows Barcelona to move on from the bitter experience of losing his Brazil teammate Neymar last summer.

Coutinho had stayed in Liverpool on Saturday while his teammates jetted off to Dubai for warm-weather training, fuelling speculation that he was set to leave the Premier League club.

Coutinho’s age is also highly attractive to Barca, whose three main stars, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta are all in their thirties. Iniesta, at 33, has shown signs of fatigue this season.

French sports daily L’Equipe reported on Saturday that Liverpool were lining up Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez to replace Coutinho, although Britain’s Press Association said the Anfield club had contacted Leicester to inform them that the reports were pure speculation.

Liverpool have also been strongly linked with Monaco forward Thomas Lemar, who Arsenal tried to sign before the season.

Coutinho played no role in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over city rivals Everton in the FA Cup on Friday.

Liverpool’s winning goal was scored by Virgil Van Dijk, the Dutch defender signed last week from Southampton for £75 million ($101.7 million, 84.5 million euros).

AFP

Coutinho Set To Join Barcelona – Report

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Leicester at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on December 30, 2017.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

Barcelona and Liverpool have agreed a deal in principle to allow Philippe Coutinho to move to the Spanish giants for 120 million euros ($144 million), a report said Saturday.

Barcelona-based Sport newspaper said Coutinho would join Barca this month on a deal for five seasons, although it said the details of the deal were still to be finalised.

Coutinho’s departure would be a blow to Liverpool, but it would allow Barcelona to move on from the bitter experience of losing his Brazil teammate Neymar last summer to Qatar-backed Paris Saint-Germain for a world record 222 million euros.

Coutinho’s age — he is 25 — is also attractive to Barca, whose three main stars, Lionel, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta are all in their thirties.

French sport daily L’Equipe reported on Saturday that Liverpool were lining up Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez to replace Coutinho, although other reports have indicated that the Merseyside club would prefer to acquire Thomas Lemar from Monaco.

AFP

Injured Coutinho, Salah Miss Liverpool’s Burnley Clash

Liverpool stars Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah were missing from the starting line-up as the Reds travelled to Burnley for Monday’s Premier League clash.

Brazil forward Coutinho wasn’t risked after picking up a thigh injury, while Egypt winger Salah has suffered a groin problem.

Both injuries are believed to be minor and the in-form pair are expected to have a chance of playing in Friday’s FA Cup third round tie against Merseyside rivals Everton.

“Phil and Mo aren’t available, that’s why they are not in the squad. They’re both injured and that’s not too cool but that’s how it is,” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said.

Barcelona kit manufacturers Nike advertised the Spanish club’s shirts with Coutinho’s name on the back on Sunday, sparking renewed talk of a move to the Camp Nou for the Liverpool playmaker.

Coutinho was the subject of failed bids by Barcelona last year who are expected to make another move in January.

The quickly deleted advert on the Nike website read: “Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou.”

This season, Salah has been even more valuable to Liverpool than Coutinho, enjoying a brilliant first season at Anfield featuring 23 goals following his move from Roma last year.

AFP

Coutinho Inspires Liverpool Rout Against Swansea

Coutinho Inspires Liverpool Rout Against Swansea
File photo

 

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho underlined his importance to the Reds ahead of the transfer window with a fine individual display in a comfortable 5-0 win over Premier League strugglers Swansea City on Tuesday.

The Brazil international scored his 12th goal of the season with a fine curling effort and provided an assist for compatriot Roberto Firmino.

Coutinho, who was strongly linked with a move to Barcelona in the build-up to the season, has enjoyed his most prolific goalscoring month in a Liverpool shirt, finding the net seven times in December.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s determination saw him score Liverpool’s third after half-time before Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finished from close range.

Liverpool’s victory ensured they remain in the thick of the battle for the Champions League places in fourth spot — five points behind second-placed Manchester United.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had made four changes from the side that drew 3-3 against Arsenal.

Joel Matip and Alexander-Arnold came into the defence, while Georginio Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain both started in midfield.

It did not take Liverpool long to assert their authority against the Premier League’s bottom club.

The tireless Firmino dispossessed Jordan Ayew in midfield and rolled the ball into the path of Mohamed Salah who in turn fed Coutinho just outside the penalty area.

Coutinho, restored to an advanced role in Liverpool’s attacking triumvirate, cut inside onto his right foot and curled a sumptuous shot into the top right corner of the net, which Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski could only stand and admire.

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who retained his place despite a high-profile blunder against Arsenal, was called into action shortly afterwards.

A deep cross picked out Ayew at the back post and the Swansea striker’s header brought a smart save out of the Belgium international.

With the atmosphere at Anfield flat and Swansea happy to pack men behind the ball, the remainder of the first half lacked any real intensity.

Liverpool continued to pose the greater threat with Emre Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Firmino all trying their luck from distance to no avail.

The Reds squandered a golden chance to add to their advantage on the stroke of half-time when Salah nabbed the ball in midfield and put Firmino through on goal, only for the Liverpool forward to drag his shot wide.

– Goal glut –

Six minutes into the second half Firmino made amends as he found the net and Liverpool effectively ended the game as a contest.

Coutinho, in his 200th appearance for Liverpool, turned supplier — his delivery from a free-kick picked out his compatriot’s run to the back post and Firmino sweetly volleyed home from close range.

Swansea’s Oliver McBurnie, on his first Premier League start, cut an increasingly isolated figure in attack and was withdrawn just after the hour for on-loan Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham.

However, it was Liverpool who posed the greater threat in the box and two goals in the space of 90 seconds enabled the hosts to cruise through the remainder of the game.

First, Alexander-Arnold netted his first Premier League goal then Firmino was able to tap into an empty net after Salah had unselfishly squared the ball to him inside the six-yard box.

Oxlade-Chamberlain completed the rout late on when he capitalised on some shambolic Swansea defending and lifted the ball into the top corner of the net with an angled finish.

AFP

Coutinho Refuses To Rule Out Liverpool Exit

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has refused to commit his future to the Premier League club, saying he does not know whether he will be the subject of a transfer bid in January.

Barcelona made repeated efforts during the summer window to land the Brazil international but were rebuffed each time, leaving him frustrated.

Since then speculation has continued to swirl over the future of the 25-year-old, who scored a hat-trick in Liverpool’s 7-0 demolition of Spartak Moscow on Wednesday, with his Catalan suitors reportedly ready to make another approach.

“I am at Liverpool and I always do my best when I have the opportunity to play, respecting the jersey and the supporters,” said Coutinho, who has scored nine goals in 13 appearances this season.

“I do not know how the future is going to be. What will happen in January, we will know it in January. I do not know if there will be an offer.

“Last summer there was a job offer in the same way that happens with any employee and I was interested in it. Since I stayed I have played with will and desire.”

Coutinho’s hat-trick was his first for the club and he hailed the achievement of making the latter stages of the Champions League as a significant moment.

“It was a special night due to the result and because I had the armband in such an important game playing for a club like Liverpool,” added the player, who captained the side at Anfield.

“For sure this is my most important hat-trick. In the Champions League it was my first one. I scored one for Brazil but this was more important.”

Defender Joe Gomez said Europe’s top clubs have every reason to fear Liverpool.

They finished the group stage with 23 goals — second-highest in the all-time list behind Paris Saint-Germain’s 25 from the current campaign — and although they avoided the likes of PSG and Barcelona, potential last-16 opponents include Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid.

“We believe we can beat anyone and we have to have that mentality,” said Gomez.

“We have great quality and they can be scared of us the same way we can be wary of them so that’s good.”

AFP