It’s no secret that Philippe Coutinho has had his share of troubles fitting into this Bayern Munich squad. The loanee from FC Barcelona has had such a rough go of it, that Barca has reportedly dropped their asking price from 120 million to 80-90 to make the deal permanent (Mundo Deportivo). The 27-year-old Brazilian, however, has found a pretty important defender in his corner in Hansi Flick, who also happens to be his boss.
Coutinho played the full 90 minutes in Bayern’s DFB-Pokal tilt against Hoffenheim, so there was plenty to dissect in Coutinho’s good, but not spectacular performance. Flick had this to say about it (Bild):
Sure, not everything was super vs Hoffenheim, but neither was everything bad. I think he himself is not one hundred percent satisfied either. He is one of our players, and we have to help him. And we will. I remain convinced that he can still help us very much. There are spells of poor form in every career.
Though it may not seem so when you read it, anyone who has any German relatives knows this statement is high praise indeed. Flick goes on to express how difficult it is for a player like Coutinho to come Barcelona and fit in with such a “homogeneous team” and that’s a factor that is often overlooked. He’s used to playing a different position from what Bayern is asking, he’s already on his second (German) manager, and he’s in a completely different country with a different language and culture. That is a tall order for anyone, even a player of Coutinho’s talent.
One thing that you can’t take away from Coutinho is his work ethic. According to Bild, Coutinho has hired a personal trainer for private sessions outside of his team training and has had no distractions that can come from being a professional athlete in a major metropolitan city like Munich (see: Vidal, Arturo). He also seems to get along very well off the pitch with his teammates. All of this, coupled with Barca’s new asking price, might bode well for a permanent move this summer. But with the looming potential transfer of Kai Havertz and the resurgence of Thomas Müller this season, Coutinho might not have a spot going forward. It appears, however, that he remains committed to making that decision as difficult as possible for the Bayern board.