The Liga giants have spent much of the summer desperately trying to get big earners off their books, with financial struggles in Catalunya forcing club legend Lionel Messi to walk away as a free agent and link up with Paris Saint-Germain.
Koeman have a plans at Barca for Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho has been offered hope that he may yet have a future at Barcelona, but Ronald Koeman admits the path is clear for Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti to head out of Camp Nou. The Liga giants have spent much of the summer desperately trying to get big earners off their books, with financial struggles in Catalunya forcing club legend Lionel Messi to walk away as a free agent and link up with Paris Saint-Germain. Brazil international Coutinho has been one of those that Barca are open to offers for. Still, the former Liverpool star will play a part in his manager’s 2021-22 plans if no move materialises before the next deadline.
Philippe needs one more week to train with the group
Koeman told reporters when asked about Coutinho, who will not be involved in a meeting with Athletic Club on Saturday: “Philippe is out because I think he needs one more week to train with the group before being called up. I do count on him because he is a great player. He can be important for Barca. He started playing last year; then, he had an injury. I really count on Coutinho for this season.” The Barca boss added: “Coutinho can play in various positions. He can play from the left-wing. We have lost goals with Messi, and we have to look for them in other players. Philippe is one of them.” While Coutinho could see a slate wiped clean by the Blaugrana, Pjanic and Umtiti have been advised to find themselves another club after being firmly frozen out at Camp Nou.
Bosnian midfielder Pjanic has seen a return to Juventus mooted, while World Cup-winning French centre-half Umtiti is being linked with clubs in Ligue 1 and the Premier League. Koeman added on the out-of-favour duo: “There are players like them who have a tough time having minutes, but the final decision is always on the part of the players. “They have a complicated position, yes.” Koeman did, however, offer hope to Danish forward Martin Braithwaite and his chances of fending off transfer talk to become a key man in an ambitious side. The Dutchman said: “We know the club’s situation; if there is interest in him, we listen. He showed that he is important to the team. I love working with him. Disciplined, he accepts his role. For me, I think that he has to stay.”