Barcelona opened the Spanish league season with a
1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao on Friday without the services of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian midfielder was not on the pitch as a starter, nor on the bench as a substitute. Instead, he took in the game from the stands at the San Mames because of a potential transfer deal that could see him temporarily leave Spain for another European country.
Bayern Munich and Barcelona struck an agreement on a loan for Coutinho after he refused to be part of a
potential Neymar swap deal with PSG . Bayern announced the deal on Twitter:
If the deal goes through, it makes perfect sense for Countinho. It’s unclear if the buy option is obligatory at this point, but that doesn’t seem likely.
The former Liverpool man joined Barca in 2018, and while he has 21 goals in 75 games, he’s never cemented himself as a starter. With Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi as sure starters in attack, and with the addition of Antoine Griezmann, Coutinho doesn’t have a big role with the club. At Bayern Munich he would have a chance to play more, potentially in a more central role in the midfield or go out on the wing, though Bayern are in good shape with Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman.
This isn’t the first time Bayern has gone after a star in Spain looking for a move. In 2017, they snapped up Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez on loan with an option to buy but never took up that option, sending him back to Spain.
The transfer window for German and Spanish clubs is on Sept. 2.