Philippe Coutinho has picked up another injury and, this time, it’s serious. Ronald Koeman has lost the Brazilian for potentially up to four months but, as detailed by Diario Sport, his loss isn’t what it should be.
Coutinho is no longer the key piece of Koeman’s revolution that it appeared he would be at the beginning of the season. The Carioca, fresh from a Champions League-winning loan spell with Bayern Munich, looked revitalised upon his return, playing with a confidence unseen from him thus far in Blaugrana.
He was then hit with injury, however, missing a month of action. In that time, teenager Pedri stepped up to the plate to seize his chance to the degree that it’s now impossible to envision a Barcelona team without the boy from the Canaries in it.
As well as Pedri’s emergence and the beginning of a close on-field relationship with Lionel Messi, Koeman began to rely more on Martin Braithwaite to lead the line and pulled Messi deeper, greatly reducing the space in which Coutinho could operate upon his return from injury.
He missed barely a month, but everything had changed upon the Brazilian’s return. He was left out of the important games against Juventus and Real Sociedad and failed to impose himself against Valencia. Coutinho began to look more like the Coutinho of old as opposed to the man who started the season so well.
Given the pressure to try and make the most of Coutinho because of how expensive his transfer fee was, an argument could be made that the Brazilian’s absence for the coming months enables Koeman to give more sunlight to others. Pedri’s already in the picture, and Antoine Griezmann will be expected to step up. Ousmane Dembele has impressed since his return from injury.
However Koeman decides to move the team forward, the sad thing is that, despite his ability and potential, Coutinho won’t be the loss to Barcelona he should be.