Philippe Coutinho was dealt a crushing blow to his Barcelona comeback on Tuesday night.
Fresh from returning to Camp Nou in the summer, the former Liverpool man has been given a second chance in Catalonia that nobody thought he’d be afforded because of Ronald Koeman.
Truth be told, we still haven’t seen the world-class performances we know Coutinho can offer with the Blaugrana, but there have been flashes of brilliance as well as three goals for good measure.
Coutinho’s serious injury
However, those statistics could well be locked in for the remainder of the season as Coutinho suffered a serious injury that requires surgery during the disappointing 1-1 draw with Eibar.
An official club statement read: “The tests carried out on the first team player Philippe Coutinho have shown that the midfielder has an injury to the lateral meniscus in his left knee.
“Treatment will necessitate arthroscopic surgery which will take place in the coming days.
“The Brazilian came on in the 66th minute of the draw against Eibar in place of Miralem Pjanic but was unable to complete the game due to his injury which he picked up in injury time in the second half, leaving Barça with 10 men as they had already used their five permitted substitutes.”
Liverpool’s agreement with Barcelona
It’s an alarming situation for Coutinho who will have been hoping to nail down his place in the Barcelona midfield through all the chopping and changing that could even see Lionel Messi leave.
However, bizarrely, Barcelona might well be happy with Coutinho’s injury as far as their bank account is concerned because it could save them making an £18 million payment to Liverpool.
Just last week, Catalan newspaper Sport reported, per a translation from the Daily Mail, that Barca would owe their Premier League conquerors the hefty fee if Coutinho reaches 100 appearances for the club.
So far, Coutinho has 90 outings for the Spanish giants, meaning that just a further 10 first-team fixtures would require Barcelona to cough up amidst a period so tough on finances.
Liverpool could miss out on £18 million
But what does the injury have to do with things? Surely Coutinho, now valued at £54 million, will simply reach 100 appearances for Barcelona at the back end of the season or even in 2021/22?
Well, actually, the Mail’s translation further posits that Barcelona want to get rid of Coutinho as soon as possible in order to dodge the payment with the Spanish club suffering badly financially.
In other words, unless Coutinho recovers early enough to make another 10 appearances before the current season is out, the injury might well tide them over until they cash in midway through 2021.
So, sure, there are a lot of ifs and buts involved as Coutinho goes under the knife, but Liverpool could well be missing out on an £18 million that would have been a lovely late Christmas present.
Besides, knowing what Michael Edwards can do in the transfer window, you’d hardly be surprised if that was enough to wangle himself the latest Premier League Golden Boot winner.