Koeman counting on Coutinho

21 August 2021 18:31:29 GMTPlus11
Philippe Coutinho could be integral for Barcelona this season

Ronald Koeman has ruled out a Camp Nou exit for Philippe Coutinho during the summer transfer window, with the Barcelona boss insisting he is relying on the Brazil playmaker.

The Catalans are 9/2 to win La Liga for the first time in three seasons this term and they began the new campaign with an entertaining 4-2 victory over Real Sociedad on home soil last weekend.

Brazilian international Coutinho has not played for Barcelona since December due to injury and is set to miss this weekend's trip to Athletic Bilbao.

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But Koeman has hinted that he may be available for next week's match against Getafe and despite rumours of a move away from the Spanish giants, the Dutchman says he is counting on Coutinho in the wake of Lionel Messi's departure to Paris Saint-Germain.

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Coutinho has made 90 appearances for the Catalans since joining for a reported £142 million from Liverpool in 2018.

However, he spent the following campaign on loan at German champions Bayern Munich and featured only 14 times on his return to Camp Nou last term.

Summer exit ruled out

A Premier League return has been mooted for the 29-year-old but Koeman says he remains an important part of his plans at Barcelona for this season and beyond.

"Philippe needs another week of training before being in the squad," Koeman told reporters on Friday. "For me, he's a great player and he can be important for Barca. I am absolutely counting on him for this season."

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