Cope reports that his agents, Kia Joorabchian and Giuliano Bertolucci, have contacted the club to express their discomfort about the Brazilian striker’s current position at Camp Nou.
While Barcelona have tried to sweep the Philippe Coutinho situation under the carpet, it has not gone away, with Spanish radio station Cope reporting that his agents, Kia Joorabchian and Giuliano Bertolucci, have contacted the club to express their discomfort about the Brazilian striker’s current position at Camp Nou.
Regardless of his poor performances, keeping a player that cost 160 million euros on the bench is always going be controversial, and even some directors at the club are scratching their heads about how Valverde is managing Coutinho, according to the Cope report.
Quite simply, Coutinho was left without a place in the starting eleven when Valverde decided to balance the team with a third pure midfielder (Arthur or Vidal accompanying Rakitic and Busquets) and Dembélé broke into team on the back of his impressive performances. So far has Coutinho fallen out of favour, in fact, that he played just eight minutes against Getafe last weekend, the lowest amount of game time he has seen since the season began.
Despite converting a penalty in the 85th minute, Coutinho’s overall performance was disappointing in Barca’s 2-1 loss to Levante on Thursday in the Copa del Rey. Throughout the whole game, he lost up to 17 balls and not until the dying minutes did he really begin to get a hold on the game – at which point it was too late.
Countinho not at last year’s level
In the pre-match TV interview, as is standard protocol, Valverde’s assistant, Jon Aspiazu, surprised many with his frankness. “Coutinho is perhaps not at last year’s level and Dembélé has passed a little above him,” said Aspiazu, a statement with which those in the GOL television studio agreed.
Valverde was not much more conciliatory than Aspiazu when asked about the Brazilian at the post-match press conference: “If a player is not happy, he has to fight to reverse the situation,” said the Barca coach. “Coutinho has given us a lot, he gives us a lot and he will give us a lot”.
In a similar vein, a few days ago, Barca’s director of Institutional Relations, Guillermo Amor, said that Coutinho “has many years left on his contract at the club to show that he is one of the best in the world.”
Valverde also hinted that he is thinking about how to make room in this new-looking eleven for Coutinho. But, for the moment, he has not found it, leaving the Coutinho case, which has simmered up to this point, on the verge of blowing up.