Philippe Coutinho's Agent Says Barcelona 'Have No Intention of Selling'

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2019

SEVILLE, SPAIN - MAY 25: Philippe Coutinho of Barcelona looks on prior to the Spanish Copa del Rey Final match between Barcelona and Valencia at Estadio Benito Villamarin on May 25, 2019 in Seville, . (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona won't offload Philippe Coutinho during the transfer window, according to the player's agent, Kia Joorabchian.

As he told Jason Burt of The Daily Telegraph, Joorabchian was informed by Barca President Josep Maria Bartomeu the club has "no intention of selling" the playmaker.

However, Joorabchian addressed ongoing rumours involving Coutinho, Brazil international teammate Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain. Joorabchian believes moves are being made without Barca's full knowledge to send Neymar back to the Camp Nou and Coutinho to the French capital:

"I will not let people talk about Philippe and put him down because for one-and-a-half years we have said nothing. I won't let them do that and all of us in Philippe's camp will not let that happen because Barcelona have told us he is staying.

"Coutinho's camp are not actively looking to move him but we believe people inside Barcelona may be acting without authority to try and sell the player. Either Barcelona have to contain the people within their organisation who are giving out information to the contrary or they have to tell us the truth if they have changed their minds."

Burt noted how Andre Cury, a representative of La Liga champions Barca, has undertaken attempts to acquire Neymar, who was chided on Monday by Les Parisiens for failing to report in time for the start of preseason training.

PSG sporting director Leonardo told Le Parisien the Ligue 1 giants are ready to move on from the world's most expensive player (h/t ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson):

Neymar moved to the Parc des Princes in a deal worth €222 million (£199 million) in 2017. Barca spent £145 million to acquire Coutinho from Liverpool in January 2018.

Things haven't gone smoothly for the midfield playmaker since. He has struggled to replicate the form he showed at Liverpoolhe scored 54 goals and added 45 assists in 201 gamesat Barcelona. While Coutinho has scored 21 goals and provided 11 assists in 76 games since his transfer, he has failed to make himself a key player, as proved by the transfer speculation surrounding him.

Part of the problem has been finding the schemer's best position. He's played in central areas, as well as being used out wide to cover injuries and inconsistency from Neymar replacements Ousmane Dembele and Malcom.

Problems on the flanks look set to be solved after the Blaugrana finally wrapped up the transfer of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid on Friday. However, Atleti are challenging whether Barca paid enough, accusing their rivals of agreeing a deal with the player before his release clause "was reduced from €200 million to €120 million," per the Guardian.

Even with Griezmann joining a forward line comprising Dembele, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, Barca still need Coutinho.

His flair and vision are vital qualities for a midfield that's regressed since Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta moved on in recent years. The Barcelona engine room is now defined more by the energy and tenacity of Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal than by technical quality.

Unfortunately, Coutinho's best attributes are also lacking in the PSG midfield. Adrien Rabiot's departure to Juventus on a free transfer has left Les Parisiens with one less forward-thinking passer in midfield.

Yet while PSG could use Coutinho, Barca are likely no longer tethered to the idea of a reunion with Neymar after adding Griezmann.

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