Ex-Barca director on Coutinho: 'I didn't sign him as a forward'
- The Brazilian remains the Catalans' most expensive transfer, however, he has only managed to score 11 goals this term.
- Barca former sporting director Robert Fernandez defends himself: "I didn’t sign him as a forward, we thought he’d be Iniesta’s replacement. I have no doubt about his signing, he can play in midfield."
Former Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez gives his verdict on the Philippe Coutinho signing, the transfer he was solely responsible for. The Brazilian remains the Catalans' most expensive arrival at €145million fixed, however, it seems that this move hasn't completely paid off. This season alone Coutinho has managed to score just 11 goals.
Robert defends himself in an interview with Esports Cope: "Nobody can doubt his quality but he doesn’t have the attributes to play up top. I didn’t sign him as a forward, we thought he’d be Iniesta’s replacement. I have no doubt about his signing, he can play in midfield. He keeps the ball, has quality, control of the game and turns well against pressure, he’s an extraordinary player. It’s hard for him and for the coach."
It is true that Coutinho visibly struggles while playing at the left-wing position alongside Leo Messi and Luis Suarez. He feels more comfortable deeper into the midfielder, however, this place is occupied by his fellow countryman Arthur. In fact, there is an abundance of the midfielders at Barcelona, especially following the €75m arrival of Frenkie de Jong.
There were talks in the Catalans press that Barca could be interested in swapping Coutinho for Antoine Griezmann. However, there is one obstacle: apparently, there are NO offers for Coutinho despite several clubs showing interest. Chelsea's interest is apparently the most concrete one but the Blues are currently hit with the two-window FIFA transfer ban.