Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has indicated that Philippe Coutinho could remain at the Camp Nou beyond the La Liga transfer deadline. The midfielder was recently touted to make a return to the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur, but it appears that he turned down the approach to stay put with the Catalans giants.
Speaking to reporters, Valverde said that Coutinho remains an influential player within the club’s ranks and he was absent during the friendly because of the short turnaround following his vacation. The Spanish tactician added that he cannot predict the future of the Brazil international, but he is optimistic that the 27-year-old will continue to ply his trade with the Blaugrana next term.
He said: “Of course I am counting on him. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but he’s with us. He didn’t play today because, like Arthur [Melo] and [Arturo] Vidal, they’ve only had two training sessions. The plan is the same: to bring them in little by little [after the Copa America]. We will see if on Saturday he can play some minutes. The idea is the same with him as everyone else. We count on him, of course.”
Coutinho was associated with both Arsenal and Tottenham before the Premier League transfer window shut down and out of those, only Spurs were understood to hold the real interest. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had sought to lure the Brazilian to north London after previously working together at Espanyol, but the playmaker seems to have rejected the advances out of the loyalty for former club Liverpool.
As such, the former Internacional graduate continues to remain within the ranks of Barcelona, but things could change before the La Liga transfer deadline, given Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have been credited with an interest. Barcelona’s rumoured interest in re-signing Neymar could see them offer Coutinho to Paris Saint-Germain as part of a swap deal.