Philippe Coutinho Transfer Betting Odds*
*Odds up to date as of August 30, 2021
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The Reds had initially resisted Barcelona’s overtures the previous summer, insisting that the Brazil international was not for sale and rejecting numerous bids from the La Liga giants. But Barcelona persevered and eventually got their man in the January transfer window, agreeing to pay an initial £105m with various add-ons potentially taking the deal up to £142m. It was an extraordinary amount of money, although the transfer was in keeping with Barcelona’s broader recruitment policy following the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.
Since Coutinho’s move to the Camp Nou, Liverpool have won one Champions League final, reached another and lifted the Premier League trophy. Barcelona have not gone beyond the last four of the Champions League, and although they have won two La Liga titles, they now find themselves with debts of £1bn and without Lionel Messi, their greatest ever player.
The Coutinho transfer has been a monumental failure for Barcelona. The attacking midfielder has made only 90 appearances in almost four years, just 64 of which have been in La Liga. The club even suffered the ignominy of seeing Coutinho score against them in a Champions League quarter-final during his loan spell at Bayern Munich. That 8-2 defeat in Lisbon will live long in the memory.
Given the dire financial situation, you would expect Barcelona will be willing to listen to offers for the Brazilian before the transfer window closes on August 31. But where might he end up if he does leave the Camp Nou?
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London calling as Arsenal links emerge?
Arsenal completed the signing of Martin Odegaard for £30m on Friday, but that does not necessarily rule them out of the race for Coutinho. A lack of creativity was a problem for Mikel Arteta’s side last season; the Gunners had the third-best defensive record in the division but their struggles in the final third saw them miss out on European qualification. Coutinho would provide further invention in attacking areas alongside Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe. Moreover his agent, Kia Joorabchian, has good relations with the Arsenal hierarchy.
A swap deal taking Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the other direction has been mooted. The Gabon international has long wanted to play in La Liga and would no doubt be interested in a move to Barcelona.
That is perhaps the only way Arsenal would be able to afford a deal for Coutinho. Barcelona are in a mess but they are said to want at least £35m for the 29-year-old. The addition of Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale takes Arsenal’s summer spending north of £100m, leaving very little left in the budget. That is the biggest obstacle in their pursuit of Coutinho.
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Wolves, Leicester and West Ham other English options
Coutinho did not set the world alight at Inter earlier in his career, and his difficulties at Barcelona have been well documented. His Bayern Munich spell was so-so at best, meaning the best time of Coutinho’s career undoubtedly came in English football. It would be no surprise if he favoured a return to the Premier League this summer, even though Lazio have emerged as surprise contenders to sign him in the last few days.
Wolves have been linked with Coutinho too. Pedro Neto is sidelined with a knee injury until February at the earliest, and Bruno Lage may want to add another body to his pool of attacking players. West Ham are certainly looking to do that, with Jesse Lingard their primary target. Coutinho could be an option if the England international stays at Manchester United, although he does not look like a natural fit for a David Moyes side.
Brendan Rodgers has managed Coutinho before and would back himself to get the best out of the former Liverpool star. Yet his wages could be a problem for Leicester, who tend to sign younger players with sell-on value and the potential to improve. With James Maddison established as the Foxes’ No.10, Coutinho is not a priority.
Staying at Barcelona now most likely
All of the above explains why the bookmakers consider an extension of his stay at Barcelona the most likely option. Ronald Koeman has indicated that he is prepared to give Coutinho another chance, and the attacking midfielder did indeed show some promising signs before injury disrupted his season in 2020/21.
Coutinho has been available for transfer the entire summer, and the fact he is still at the Camp Nou suggests offers have not been forthcoming. A bid could yet arrive from Arsenal or another club, but as the clock ticks closer to August 31 a move appears increasingly unlikely.