Philippe Coutinho’s move to leave Liverpool and join Barcelona continues to go rather badly for the now 28-year-old Brazilian if you believe the latest chatter out of Spain, with reports he will have his minutes limited to avoid payment of a €5M transfer add-on fee.
Currently, Coutinho is sidelined with an injury, but the playmaker is expected back in March for a Barcelona side that looks out of the title race but safely in the top four places in La Liga. He’s also set to trigger a games played escalator if he plays seven more times.
According to Onze TV, that has Barcelona planning to curtail his playing time when he does return—presumably ahead of making another attempt to sell Coutinho in the summer, as the games played escalator fees in his transfer are cumulative and not seasonal.
For Barcelona, in the midst of a financial crisis, saving that €5M could be more important than whatever Coutinho might be able to do on the pitch for them given their position in La Liga, eight points back of Atletico Madrid in first and six clear of Villarreal in fifth.
For Liverpool, though, it hardly matters any more—the English club quickly sold Barcelona’s outstanding debt on the Coutinho transfer and received a lump-sum for it. For Coutinho, meanwhile, it appears he still isn’t part of the Catalan club’s long-term plans.