“Stay here and they will end up building a statue in your honour. Go somewhere else, to Barcelona, to Bayern Munich, to Real Madrid and you will be just another player. Here you can be something more.”
That was Jurgen Klopp’s message to Philippe Coutinho when his long-term future at Liverpool was unclear.
Coutinho would ignore Klopp’s advice and complete his long-awaited move to Barcelona to link up with the likes of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in January 2018.
However, just two years later, he wants to return to the Premier League.
“After the Champions League is finished, and whatever happens, then we’ll sit down,” his agent Kia Joorabchian told talkSPORT when discussing his client’s future. “It could be that Barcelona is the ultimate destination.
Coutinho may have lifted two Spanish titles during his time with the Blaugrana but it’s undeniable his stock has fallen.
The Brazilian was shipped out on loan to Bayern Munich last season where he started just 15 league games on his way to collecting another league winners medal.
As Joorabchian noted, Barcelona will struggle to offload the 28-year-old this summer given they paid £130million to Liverpool for his services and clubs are currently facing the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward admitted that the Reds are not immune to the financial ramifications of the global crisis. Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho remains a priority target but United view their demands as “unrealistic” given the current situation and the two clubs have been unable to reach an agreement over his valuation thus far.
While a permanent move for Coutinho is out of the question, United should give serious consideration to signing the former Liverpool star on loan, provided Barcelona will cover the majority of his wage demands.