One thousand days after joining Barcelona, Philippe Coutinho is gradually establishing himself in the Blaugrana starting line-up.
The Brazilian playmaker became the club’s record transfer back on January 6, 2018, when he moved to Barcelona from Liverpool in exchange for 120 million euros plus 40m euros in add-ons.
Struggling to find his role in the team in his first and a half season, Barcelona loaned Coutinho out to Bayern Munich for the 2019/20 campaign.
He returned to the Camp Nou last summer and Ronald Koeman decided to give the Brazilian an opportunity to rediscover his form.
The Dutchman placed him in his natural position behind the striker where the player can freely show off his repertoire.
Koeman has expressed his admiration for Coutinho’s talent and decided to help him restore his confidence with good performances.
He started the former Liverpool playmaker against Villarreal in Barcelona’s LaLiga Santander opener and Coutinho shone with his display at the Camp Nou.
His confidence has been boosted as he is starting gelling with the team’s forwards Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati.
Against Villarreal, Coutinho provided Fati with an assist and in the following match with Celta Vigo he produced an effort that crashed against the post.
In his six seasons at Liverpool, Coutinho put together several world class performances before returning to Spain.
He had played in LaLiga Santander before, back in 2011/12, when he joined Espanyol from Inter on loan.
The label of the most expensive signing in the history of Barcelona heavily weighted on his shoulders as Coutinho failed to impress with his outings at the Blaugrana.
In 2017/18, Coutinho played 22 games, 17 as a starter and the next season he registered 54 appearances, 38 in the starting line-up.
Having mustered nine and eleven goals, respectively, Barcelona decided to loan Coutinho out to Bayern Munich.
The Bavarians spent 8.5m euros and set his purchase clause at 120m euros.
Coutinho played 34 games in Germany, starting in 20 and scoring 11 goals.
He showed glimpses of his quality and but didn’t shine and Bayern Munich decided against triggering his clause.
In his return to the Blaugrana, Koeman has given Coutinho a second opportunity to prove his quality.