Quique Setien suggests Philippe Coutinho could remain at Barcelona

Barcelona head coach Quique Setien has opened the possibility of Philippe Coutinho playing for the Blaugrana next term. The Brazil international is currently out on loan with Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga but the German side are expected to turn down the option of signing him on a permanent deal.

As a result, he is due to return to the Camp Nou at the end of the campaign and reports have claimed that he could thereafter pursue a permanent or temporary move away from the Blaugrana. However, in a recent interview, Setien has said that he reminds a fond admirer of Coutinho’s talents and refused to rule out the prospect of the playmaker staying put.

He told: “Coutinho? I like him very much. He is still a Barcelona player. You have to pay the clause or a transfer fee to Barca. I think he can be here at the beginning of next season.I don’t know if he wants to come back or go away again, I have to talk to him to ask him. He is a great player, no doubt about it.”

Coutinho has managed nine goals and eight assists from 32 appearances this term but his form has faded during the backend of the campaign. As such, he has been in-and-out of the starting XI and it appears quite clear that the Bayern don’t fancy signing him on a permanent basis with the £102m buy option available.

Meanwhile, Coutinho’s agent has hinted that a return to the Premier League could be an option. Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City have been credited with an interest and it remains to be seen whether any deal materialises during the summer transfer window. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports suggest that the Blaugrana could accept a reduced £75m for the permanent sale of Coutinho.