Barcelona remain sympathetic to Philippe Coutinho’s plight despite ongoing speculation surrounding a summer transfer back to the Premier League.
The Brazilian signed for Barca from Liverpool for £142million last January, but he has not shown the form that the Catalan giants had intended.
The club and coach Ernesto Valverde have always come out and defended the 26-year-old, who has been linked with Chelsea and Manchester United as well as Liverpool, and with a contract until 2023 they have publicly stated their support for the player.
And today Guillermo Amor, the club’s director of institutional and sporting relations, told Sport: “At the beginning with Coutinho we were happy and have always been happy.
“We have to give him chances and he’ll take them. He’s always shown his quality. He takes risks, he tries.
“It feels as if everyone is watching what he does, the poor guy. But we believe he’ll carry on going forward.”
Coutinho featured for 75 minutes of yesterday’s 0-0 draw with Athletic Bilbao before being replaced by the fit-again Ousmane Dembele – the man tipped to take the place of Coutinho.
Last week Barcelona changed their stance on Coutinho and are now believed to be willing to listen to offers for the player, according to Marca.
The Spanish paper claimed “patience is starting to wear thin” with Coutinho and although he still has the backing of those at the club, a summer sale “cannot be ruled out”.
Last month though Valverde voiced his support for Coutinho.
“What I like about Coutinho is that he’s daring and he’s always prepared to take the opposition on,” Valverde said.
“He makes things happen. After that, sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don’t. He’s had good chances and the fact that he’s getting into those positions one-on-one with the goalkeeper is really good.
“He’s not converted those chances this time – but he will.”
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