How could Coutinho improve his Barca situation?
- The Brazilian has failed to replace either Andres Iniesta in the heart of the midfielder or Neymar at the left wing.
- He is only used as a substitute while his most recent performance against Levante was rather depressing with 17 lost balls.
- Valverde insists Coutinho 'has to fight to reverse the situation' as Dembele is allegedly ahead of the Brazilian in the pecking order.
- According to Cope, Coutinho's agents have already voiced their concerns over their client's current situation.
- There are rumours that Barca could consider swapping him for Neymar.
Philippe Coutinho seems to have completely lost his place in the Barcelona starting line-up. Before Thursday's Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg against Levante, he hasn't started since early December when the Catalans hosted Tottenham in their final Champions League Group Stage fixture.
Coutinho has failed to replace either Andres Iniesta in the midfield and Neymar at the left wing. Ernesto Valverde currently prefers balancing the Blaugrana side with a third pure midfielder: either Arthur Melo or Arturo Vidal is picked up to accompany Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets.
Ousmane Dembele, meanwhile, is currently ahead of the Brazilian in the pecking order even despite his poor disciplinary record. Coutinho took his place against Levante but his overall performance was rather poor: he failed to get a hold on the game and lost up to 17 balls.
So, what should Coutinho do in order to solve this painful situation? The boss, Ernesto Valverde politely reacted to this incident right after the Levante defeat: "If a player is not happy, he has to fight to reverse the situation. Coutinho has given us a lot, he gives us a lot and he will give us a lot".
What's more, Valverde's assistant Jon Aspiazu has recently given a rather harsh assessment of Coutinho's fitness: "Coutinho is perhaps not at last year's level and Dembele has passed a little above him."
COMPARISON: Coutinho vs Dembele vs Neymar, as per WhoScored:
In any case, the Brazilian remains the most expensive Barcelona transfer ever and it is a bit strange to keep a player that cost 160 million euros on the bench. According to the Spanish radio station Cope, Coutinho's powerful agents Kia Joorabchian and Giuliano Bertolucci have already voiced their disappointment with the Catalan club over their client's situation.
On Thursday, a shocking rumour came into circulation: Barcelona are reportedly planning to offload Coutinho in summer in order to raise funds to bring back his predecessor - Neymar.
Where could the former Liverpool man go? Which side could splash the cash on the multi-talented winger? Only time will tell.
WATCH ALSO: Philippe Coutinho's best skills