Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho is keen on staying with FC Barcelona following Xavi Hernandez’s appointment as the manager.
Coutinho joined Barcelona from English giants Liverpool in January 2016 in an initial £105 million deal. However, he has failed to hold on to a starting spot at Barcelona. He was initially shunned out to the left wing due to the presence of a certain Andres Iniesta.
Coutinho had an improved second season, scoring 11 goals in 54 appearances across competitions. But he was loaned out to Bayern Munich in August 2019. He made 23 Bundesliga, winning the competition as well as his first Champions League and DFB Pokal.
Since returning to his parent club last summer, Coutinho once again struggled to become a regular starter, starting only four La Liga games. The 29-year-old, in recent weeks, has been linked with a move to the latest big-money club in the Premier League, Newcastle United.
However, following the appointment of Barcelona legend Xavi as the club’s new manager, Coutinho reportedly wants to fight for his place instead of moving out.
Xavi to take call on Phillipe Coutinho’s Barcelona future
Xavi was appointed as Barcelona manager after Ronald Koeman faced the sack following a high-scoring draw against Celta Vigo. Xavi, a four-time Champions League winner, has reportedly settled down at his new job. He is in the process of assessing his current squad.
Barcelona recently signed former player Dani Alves, with the new manager reportedly looking to give Sergi Roberto game time in midfield. Apart from Sergio Busquets and Frenkie De Jong, Barcelona also have multiple talented young midfielders like Pedri, Gavi and Riqui Puig.
With decisions to be made regarding various starting positions, Xavi is in no hurry to finalise his starters. That essentially means Coutinho might have a future at Barcelona under Xavi. Additionally, Coutinho’s hefty wages, rumoured to be as high as £380,000 per week, might make it difficult for Barcelona to find potential suitors.
Nevertheless, with Coutinho having made up his mind to fight for his place, the ball lies in the new manager’s court. Xavi is reportedly keen to see Philippe Coutinho in action before deciding on a potential role for the Brazilian in his Barcelona squad.
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There is a dearth of established midfielders in the team, apart from Frenkie de Jong and an ageing Sergio Busquets. So Coutinho might be able to salvage his Barcelona career.