Coutinho to the PL: Where would be the best fit?April 20, 2020
Philippe Coutinho would love a return to the Premier League, according to his agent Kia Joorabchian.
In recent days the Brazilian playmaker has been linked with a move back to England with Chelsea and Man United mentioned among many possible destinations for the Barcelona player.
Speaking to our partners Sky Sports in the UK, Joorabchian joked that just because he’s an Arsenal fan that doesn’t mean he’s pushing all of his clients to sign for the Gunners and then discussed Coutinho’s future.
“The fact I’m an Arsenal supporter is not a secret,” Joorabchian said. “I don’t have any preference where the players go. I don’t try to push someone to one club or another. Everything is a possibility. After the Champions League game he [Coutinho] played in England we had a long chat about it. The Premier League is something that he has always enjoyed playing in, and loved playing in, and would probably love to come back and play in. The question is what are going to be the financial conditions of all the clubs, including Barcelona and all the Premier League clubs at the end of this pandemic.”
That last point is obviously key to not only Coutinho’s future but of every single player and club in the game right now. We can all accept that.
But if the former Liverpool midfielder was to come back to the Premier League after spending this season on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, which club would be the best fit for him?
It is hard to look past Chelsea as the frontrunners but with Frank Lampard building a young team, would a 27-year-old Coutinho fit in with the project? Perhaps not. Chelsea have plenty of transfer funds in reserve thanks to their transfer ban over the last 12 months, so they could probably afford to buy Coutinho, at a push, but more likely than not Barcelona will have to loan him out if they intend to keep him at the Nou Camp.
Arsenal, Tottenham and Man United have all been suggested as possible destinations but with Bruno Fernandes already the main man after his January arrival at United, that seems unlikely. Arsenal have Mesut Ozil who has been rejuvenated under Mikel Arteta and it is unlikely Spurs will be able to match the majority of Coutinho’s huge wages.
Putting finances to one side, there’s also a doubt that Coutinho could slot into the more defensive style of Mourinho, the high-pressing of Arteta and the counter-attacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Jurgen Klopp realized Coutinho would probably never be able to operate in his front three or as a deeper central midfielder and you can argue as great as Coutinho was at Anfield, he hasn’t been missed at all and was never going to fit into Klopp’s plans, long term.
Chelsea would be the perfect fit for many reasons, including his smooth playing style in-behind a central striker. Not being played in that position regularly at Barcelona and now at Bayern has led to his downturn in form compared to his heyday at Liverpool a few seasons ago but there’s little reason to believe Coutinho couldn’t replicate that form if he moved back to the Premier League.
With Willian and Pedro seemingly on their way out on free transfers soon, Chelsea have a need for more experienced playmakers to compliment their stable of young attacking stars. What Coutinho’s possible arrival would mean for Ross Barkley and Mason Mount, and to a lesser extent Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi, remains to be seen but you can certainly see Coutinho at Chelsea.
Coutinho scored 41 goals and added 35 assists in 152 PL games at Liverpool from 2013-18 and the way he dictated the tempo of games and was able to decide the outcome of many with a magical long range goal or perfect pass prove he can step up in the Premier League.
Which PL club will take a chance on Coutinho recapturing his best form?