Philippe Coutinho’s Painfully Shy Personality Meant His Move To Barcelona Was Predictably An Absolute Disaster

The Brazilian’s career has fallen off a cliff since completing a big-money move to the Camp Nou from Liverpool in January 2018.

He was loaned out to Bayern Munich in the 2019/20 season and it’s been widely reported that Barca have attempted to cut ties with the player in previous transfer windows.

Coutinho has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs in January and talkSPORT’s South American football expert Tim Vickery suggested a new challenge could be a good thing for the player.

Vickery also shed fascinating insight into why Coutinho’s spell at Barcelona hasn’t worked out from conversations with Brazil head coach Tite.

“The Barcelona move was predictably an absolute disaster,” Vickery said on Hawksbee and Jacobs.

“Barcelona bought him to be an Andres Iniesta replacement, and he isn’t. He isn’t a midfielder and they didn’t need him in the front three, either, because at that time they had Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, who were both aging. So they needed a flyer, not another player who wanted the ball to feet.

“So it could never work, it was a disaster.

“But there was also an extra problem with him going to Barcelona, and I asked this to the Brazil coach, Tite, and he said it – he is painfully shy.

“You can imagine, you’re walking into the den when you enter the Barcelona dressing room. It worked at Liverpool because they put an arm around him. The only place it worked for him before was Espanyol on loan, and you know who the coach was? Mauricio Pochettino, who is great at giving young players confidence.

“So Barcelona was never going to work for him. I thought it might work now Lionel Messi has gone, now that they need him, but no, they just want to offload him. They’re paying him a fortune and they just want to get rid of him.”

Arsenal and Tottenham have been linked with Coutinho, however, a loan move to Aston Villa – which would see him reunite with former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard – appears to be the most likely transfer.

Vickery added that the loan deal has ‘real legs’ and is the type of move Coutinho needs to play his way back into the Brazil squad with the World Cup happening later this year.

“I was speaking to the Brazil coach, Tite, about Coutinho a couple of weeks back, and he loves him,” Vickery said.

“But he’s worried, he would love to have him back in the fold, he really wants to have him back in the Brazil team, but he needs to be playing.

“Now is the time for him to show some flexibility over salaries because, if not, he’s going to miss the World Cup.

“There has been some talk of Flamengo taking him on loan, but I can’t really see that, so England becomes the obvious destination, both because that’s where the money is and it’s a place he’s succeeded in the past.

“I’m not sure about him as a fit for Liverpool with the way they play now, but at Villa with the Steven Gerrard connection and the fact they’ve sold Jack Grealish and Emi Buendia hasn’t quite done it so far.

“There could be real legs in a move to Villa on the short-term, just on a loan move just to get him off Barcelona’s wage bill.”

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