Philippe Coutinho’s failure to make an impact in two Champions League semi-final appearances against Liverpool has convinced Barcelona to show him the door this summer.
Coutinho made the £142million switch to Barcelona last year but has failed to fully settle, and has even been jeered off by his own fans on more than one occasion.
Rumours of a return to England refuse to go away, with Manchester United reportedly keen on taking the playmaker back to the north of England.
Reports in Spain even claimed that Chelsea have also identified Coutinho as the ideal replacement for Real Madrid bound Eden Hazard.
But while Barcelona have always insisted they are sticking with Coutinho for the long-term and that he would not be allowed to leave this summer, ESPN now claims the club have now undergone a very significant shift over the player’s future.
The outlet claims the club’s hierarchy has now decided that the Brazilian is “not a Barcelona player” and will be the first casualty of their shambolic Champions League exit.
“Coutinho is not a Barcelona player, that’s been made clear,” a club source told ESPN FC,. before adding: “He has added nothing. He will leave in the summer.”
Furthermore, ESPN reports that the board will also meet to discuss the future of coach Ernesto Valverde, after his failure to secure the Spanish giants’ place in the Champions League final.
While Valverde has enjoyed success on the domestic front, with Barca winning LaLiga in successive seasons, but two capitulations in two years in Europe has seen serious doubts cast on his future.
Sport called the 4-0 defeat at Anfield as the “biggest embarrassment” in the club’s history and president Josep Maria Bartomeu says there will be time to reflect on the best way forward.
“There will be time for a deep reflection and to give explanations,” he said after the game. “There’s a Copa del Rey final to play in three weeks [against Valencia on May 25].
“Last year, in Rome, the same thing happened and it’s not easy to explain. We will try to do so internally. We have to pick ourselves up and apologise to all the Barcelona supporters.”
However, ESPN indicate the club will hold serious talks about showing Valverde the door, with the obvious question being who the club might turn to as a replacement.
“We have to see how Valverde deals with this tricky situation,” a club source said on Wednesday. “The fans are really upset and disappointed with what happened and on Sunday there’s a league game against Getafe. It will be interesting to see how the supporters react.”
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