The agent of Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho has this evening opened up on the possibility of his client making a return to Liverpool.
Brazilian attacker Coutinho made the move to the Camp Nou in January of last year, on the back of a stellar couple of seasons at Anfield.
However, despite his hefty price-tag, the 27-year-old has since largely-struggled to live up to expectations in Catalunya.
Though his start to Blaugrana life over the second-half of the 2017/18 campaign proved at least somewhat encouraging, last season was a different story altogether.
Coutinho generally looked a shadow of his once-brilliant self, with a perpetual lack of confidence having seen the Brazilian continuously fade into the background, as Lionel Messi carried Barca’s creative burden on his back.
All told, Coutinho managed just 5 goals and 2 assists across 34 La Liga appearances.
The Camp Nou faithful, meanwhile, did not exactly help the situation, with many fans having turned on the former Inter Milan man as the season wore on.
‘Has a future there’
As such, speculation has already been rampant regarding Coutinho’s future with Barcelona, amid suggestions that the La Liga champions’ hierarchy could look to cut their losses on the South American this summer.
A potential swap deal involving fellow countryman Neymar has even been floated by some outlets:
| 😬 |
“Pep Segura (Barca GM) told me they don’t want to sell Coutinho. However, Barcelona’s adviser in Brazil… has been pushing for Coutinho to be included in a deal to bring Neymar back from PSG.” – Joorabchian (RMC)#FCB‘s most expensive signing || https://t.co/B9IVwSYVLg pic.twitter.com/vBScteLAYW
— Eleven Sports (@ElevenSports_UK) July 14, 2019
As such, speaking in an interview this evening, Coutinho’s agent provided an update on his client’s future.
Amid a lengthy discussion with talkSPORT’s Jim White, Kia Joorabchian first assured that Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu ‘doesn’t want the player to leave’, adding that ‘he has a future there (at the Camp Nou).’
Despite this, Joorabchian was then questioned on the possibility of a Premier League return for the attacking midfielder.
First, the super-agent was quick to shoot down a potential Manchester United switch:
‘Manchester United is a great club, I have players there and I have all the respect for them, but as far as Philippe goes it would be an extremely difficult to a near-impossible move.’
“I would be very difficult for Philippe to play for any of Liverpool’s rivals, because he has such a great affinity towards Liverpool. His time there was fantastic.’
‘Up to them…’
When drawn on the possibility of a return to Liverpool, however, Joorabchian refused to rule out the possibility, appearing to put the onus on the Reds:
‘The thing is, Liverpool have built a tremendous squad, the manager has a great balance there and it’s probably one of the run football clubs in the country.’
‘So with the build-up they’ve done and the squad they have, it [signing Coutinho] would really have to be something they would have to decide whether or not they feel there is now a current gap in the squad for someone life Philippe.’
‘I think it’s going to be a very difficult deal, but most of the big ones are always very, very difficult.’
‘Obviously if he were to move back [to the Premier League], it would have to be Liverpool. But at the moment I think it would be difficult and it would be up to them.’