Barcelona are misusing ex-Liverpool playmaker and will sell him for right price, European football expert tells talkSPORT

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PHILIN THE HEAT

Kevin Hatchard believes Camp Nou chiefs are trying too hard to force Coutinho into the role Andres Iniesta used to play – despite him performing far better in a different position

Barcelona are using Philippe Coutinho in the wrong position and as a result he has struggled to perform for the club, European football expert Kevin Hatchard has told talkSPORT.

The Brazil playmaker has failed to justify his £142million transfer fee since leaving Liverpool for Barca in January 2018 – and he could even be SOLD this summer to end his Camp Nou nightmare.

Coutinho had endured a difficult time since his move to Barcelona

Getty

Coutinho had endured a difficult time since his move to Barcelona

Liverpool are favourites to re-sign Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona in the summer

The 27-year-old recorded just five goals and two assists in 34 LaLiga appearances last season, and doubts have been raised about his future at the club.

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have both been linked with summer moves for Coutinho, while a shock return to former club Liverpool has also been touted as a possibility.

And European football expert Hatchard revealed the reasons for Coutinho’s failure at Barcelona while speaking on talkSPORT’s Sports Bar.

“Ernesto Valverde is a fan [of Coutinho],” said Hatchard, “but it just hasn’t worked out yet despite him playing in lots of games

“I think a few things [have affected his time in Barcelona].


“There is a feeling Barcelona were labouring under the misapprehension that he could replace Andres Iniesta in the role Iniesta played – and Iniesta is a one-off, an extraordinary player.

“Coutinho is more effective when he’s farther up the pitch and can do more damage; I think that’s where he is more comfortable.

“So he got stuck [in the wrong position] and his confidence has been damaged.”

Hatchard continued to say that Barca chiefs could be tempted to sell Coutinho this summer – but only if they make back as much of the £142million fee they paid for him.

“This was his dream move; it was a move he desperately wanted,” he added. “There were not many clubs he was going to leave Liverpool for, and Barcelona managed to tempt him – and it just hasn’t worked out.

Hatchard claims Barca are trying too hard to force Coutinho into the role Iniesta used to play

Hatchard claims Barca are trying too hard to force Coutinho into the role Iniesta used to play

“Barcelona, if they can get anywhere near what they paid for him, that’s a deal they would do.”

Despite his obvious struggles in Catalonia, Coutinho’s agent has insisted there are no plans in place for his client to leave the Camp Nou this summer.

“I talked a few days ago with [general manager] Pep Segura at Barcelona,” Kia Joorabchian told French publication RMC Sport.

“He told me that the club does not want to sell Coutinho this summer, no matter what. And then, we have not had any contact with PSG.”



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