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Philippe Coutinho Says 'You Never Know' on Barcelona Future Amid Exit Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 13: Philippe Coutinho of Barcelona runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais at Nou Camp on March 13, 2019 in Barcelona, . (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho has said he is unsure over his long-term future at the club.

While the Brazilian was on the scoresheet on Wednesday for his side in the 5-1 win over Lyon in the UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg, overall it's been a challenging first full season for him at the Camp Nou.

After falling down the pecking order during the 2018-19 campaign, speculation has started to gather pace regarding a possible summer departure for Coutinho.

When asked about his future, he wasn't ruling anything out, per Movistar+ (h/t Press Association Sport, via Sky Sports).

"In the last few weeks, months even, I've not been playing well but I still want to improve," he said. "I came to Barcelona to give my best. I live for the moment. You never know what the future holds. I am happy with my performance (against Lyon)."

It was reported by Jon Richardson of the Sunday Mirror that Coutinho has made a "come-and-get-me plea" to Manchester United, the big rivals of his former side Liverpool. Paris Saint-Germain are also mentioned as possible suitors for the Brazilian should Barcelona cash in.

Barcelona supporters will be hopeful the performance of their No. 7 on Wednesday can at least be a catalyst for a change in fortunes in the coming weeks.

Here is a look Coutinho's goal against Lyon, which fellow attacker Luis Suarez put on a plate (U.S. only):

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Coutinho doubles Barca's lead 🔵🔴 Watch Barcelona vs. Lyon NOW on #BRLive: https://t.co/sNbZI4wzSa https://t.co/4WhrYZAGXj

After some sections of the Camp Nou jeered Coutinho on Saturday following a disappointing performance against Rayo Vallecano, manager Ernesto Valverde praised the reaction of the club's record-signing after the Lyon win:

Rik Sharma @riksharma_

Valverde: It was an important game for Coutinho, he had a great match. He is responding at the right moments.

When Coutinho arrived at Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018, the move did appear to be a perfect match.

The midfielder conjured moments of brilliance on a regular basis on Merseyside. With his potency from long-range, invention on the ball and dribbling skill, his attributes appeared to align perfectly with Barcelona.

However, he's been inconsistent since arriving in Catalonia and has found it tough to get in the XI for key games. 

The Spanish Football Podcast said it's important the Brazilian builds on a much-improved performance:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Coutinho good tonight. Needs quite a few more games like this to come anywhere close to justifying his pricetag/expectations, though...

Even in Wednesday's win, Rafael Hernandez of Grup14 was critical of some aspects of Coutinho's play:

Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117

Coutinho needs to hold onto the ball less and pass it quicker, hope this goal helps him to regain confidence, it’s needed.

The 26-year-old showed he can be a force during his time in the Premier League, and Barcelona supporters will be desperate to see him reach similar heights at the Camp Nou.

Having been signed for a package worth a reported £142 million, it would be a shock if the Blaugrana were ready to give up on Coutinho so quickly. With Barcelona still in contention for three trophies and Ousmane Dembele set for a month on the sidelines due to injury, Coutinho has a perfect chance to press on.  

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