Liverpool have reportedly been offered the chance to re-sign Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona this summer.
What’s the story?
According to Spanish outlet AS, Barca are hoping to send the 28-year-old back to Anfield over the coming months in order to avoid paying the extra £40 million they still owe for the attacking midfielder.
Coutinho joined the Catalan giants in a deal worth up to £142m back in January 2018, but after failing to rediscover his best form in Spain, a return to Liverpool could be on the cards if Barca get their wish.
Klopp must stay clear
The Brazilian international’s quality has never been in doubt. An impressive tally of 54 goals and 45 assists in 201 appearances during his five-year stay in England meant few eyebrows were raised when Barca paid such an astronomical fee to secure his signature.
However, things have not worked out the way Coutinho would have hoped in the subsequent years.
A below-par 18 months at the Camp Nou saw the South American shipped out to Bayern Munich on a loan deal, where he enjoyed a relatively successful 2019/20 campaign.
Eleven goals and nine assists saw Coutinho contribute to a remarkable treble with Bayern, and he even bagged two goals in a humiliating 8-2 thrashing of his parent club in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Despite his mini-renaissance in Bavaria, Coutinho couldn’t carry that form back to Barca, and a serious injury picked up in December saw the ex-Liverpool star make just eight league starts all season throughout 2020/21.
His underwhelming campaign appears to be the final straw for the La Liga outfit’s hierarchy, who are desperate to get the Brazilian’s huge wages off their books.
Reports suggest that Barca are keen to return Coutinho to Jurgen Klopp’s charges this summer as they seek to avoid another substantial payout for their transfer flop, and the German manager must avoid the temptation to bring back a player once lauded by the current Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson.
“He’s a fantastic player, produces magical things at crucial times in the game, and you saw that. He’s been brilliant since he’s come back in,” said Henderson, but it’s been a while since his former teammate has been at his scintillating best.
It’s often said in football that you should never go back, and Liverpool should listen to that old cliche on this occasion.
Klopp needs to spend wisely in the upcoming transfer window in order to return the Merseyside giants to the summit of English football, and taking a gamble on Coutinho is hardly an advisable strategy given his recent injury record and his lack of success in Spain.