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Brazilian legend Cafu says Coutinho should stay at Bayern Munich

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Coutinho hasn’t been at his best for Bayern, but he has time to turn his fortunes around.

1. FC Koeln v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Philippe Coutinho is struggling to find consistent minutes under Hansi Flick and has only started twice for Bayern Munich during the ruckrunde; once in the league against Hertha Berlin, and then once in the DFB-Pokal against Hoffenheim. Bayern has already said they’re leaning towards not activating his buyout clause at the end of his loan spell, which would cost around 120-million Euros.

Legendary Brazilian defender “Cafu” (Marcos Evangelista de Morais) still feels that Coutinho should stay at Bayern, despite not playing as much as he’d like to (AZ). A lot of Coutinho’s success, Cafu said, is based on whether or not he’s being used in the right position. When he is, Cafu feels, he’s a world-class player and be incredibly effective.

I would advise him to stay in Munich. He is an incredible player. When used in the right position, he can make a difference.

FC Bayern Muenchen v SV Werder Bremen - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

Thomas Muller’s efficiency under Hansi Flick is one of the key components keeping Coutinho on the bench. The raumdeuter has been in fantastic form and, unfortunately for Coutinho, has been most often starting as an attacking midfielder, both central and wide. Coutinho prefers a more central position, but Muller’ versatility to play either wide or centrally in attack makes him a perfect auxiliary option for Flick. Coutinho can, of course, play as a wide attacking midfielder, but both Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry are almost back to full match fitness as the preferred starting wingers.

The prospects of playing in a deeper midfield role for Coutinho are also slim because flick has shown a preference to the triple pivot of Joshua Kimmich, Thiago Alcantara, and Leon Goretzka, though Goretzka started from the bench in Bayern’s 4-1 win over FC Koln. Right now, it’s hard to see Coutinho relegating either of those three to the bench with the current system that Flick has been utilizing. There’s still plenty of football left to be played this season, but Coutinho’s fortunes would have to drastically change for the club to want to activate his buyout clause, especially with the aim of signing one (or more) of Leroy Sane, Timo Werner, or Kai Havertz.

Bayern Muenchen v Olympiacos FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images