For the past two seasons, there’s been plenty of talk about how Liverpool ’s Philippe Coutinho is likely to end up at Barcelona. Maybe not this transfer window, the story always goes, but the next one. It’s a favourite of the rumour mongers, and it’s fuelled by plenty of talk from former Barcelona players.
Most recently, Rivaldo gave it a boost when he suggested Coutinho to Barcelona was only a matter of time due first to the player’s quality and second to his friendship with Barca star Neymar. There’s only been one problem. Namely that Barcelona themselves have yet to show a great deal of interest.
“I don’t think so,” Spanish journalist Guillem Balague told Sky when asked if Barcelona were considering a move. “There has been no real interest. I know Rivaldo has spoken about it, but it wouldn’t make sense as they see [Coutinho] as a forward and the front three will be a front three next season.”
The front three will, indeed, be the front three at Barcelona. If Coutinho is seen as a potential forward target and not a midfielder at Barcelona, there simply isn’t room for him. If he was seen as Andres Iniesta’s replacement, perhaps, the story would be different. Yet, perhaps not surprisingly, that isn’t the case.
On that front, today Spanish papers are claiming that Barcelona captain Iniesta is upset by all the Coutinho talk—and be what he sees as Neymar’s role in it—as he has taken it as a potential threat to his position in the team. And in response, the club are making it clear that Coutinho wouldn’t be.
If Barcelona were interested in Coutinho, it would be as a forward. At least for next season, Iniesta’s place in the squad will go unchallenged. At least for one more transfer window, it appears that Philippe Coutinho will not be targeted by Barcelona.