Given Philippe Coutinho‘s history of heroics at Liverpool and Barcelona’s alleged need to unload him to free up some cash, a natural connection was made between the player and his former club well before Barca sanctioned his loan to Bayern Munich.
Why didn’t Liverpool go for Coutinho? Jurgen Klopp says they couldn’t afford him.
It’s an odd one in a summer the Reds spent very little in the transfer market. From Sport.com:
“It sounds weird, but we could not afford it,” Klopp said. “We have already spent the money that we got for him. He’s a super player and a super boy.
“We were reluctant to hand it over at the time, but Barcelona forced us with money, so to speak. He is a player who can change games for the positive. It’s not that nice for Dortmund, but it’s a great transfer for Bayern and the Bundesliga.”
Couldn’t afford it? We’re gonna have to see the math on that one, but we certainly don’t know the ins and outs of the business aside from the earnings from UCL and PL play. Presumably he means couldn’t afford the buy, not the loan.
It just doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense, but for all of his brilliance on the pitch his explanations for the club’s summer transfer window haven’t followed suit with his in-game genius.
It’s fair to wonder whether the Reds simply didn’t want to spend this summer for any number of reasons, and that’s their right, but Klopp’s answers have gone from “There are crazy fees now, I don’t even want to spend like that” to “Hey, I was wrong. We’re gonna have to spend a lot” to “We can’t afford it.”
Bayern Munich has completed the signing of Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho on a season-long loan with an option to buy at the end of the season.
Both parties confirmed the signing on Monday morning, and while the German club stated that “all parties have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the agreement,” Barcelona went to great lengths to contradict that, detailing that Bayern is paying a $9.3 million loan fee and has a fixed $133 million option to buy at the end of the season.
“For me, this change represents a new challenge in a new country at one of the best clubs in Europe,” Coutinho said in the official Bayern release announcing the transfer. “I am really looking forward to this. I have big goals, like Bayern, and I’m sure I can do it with my new team-mates.”
The confirmed financials mean that Barcelona will suffer a huge loss on the Coutinho deal should Bayern activate the option to buy at the end of the season. The Brazilian struggled mightily at Barcelona, failing to find consistent form after moving from Liverpool for a sensational $160 million fee two summers ago. He made 76 appearances for the Catalan club, scoring 21 goals and assisting 11, but his final seven months of La Liga play last season saw him rack up just two goals and one assist in 23 appearances, losing his consistent place in the starting lineup and finding the ire of Barcelona fans.
However, Coutinho was one of the best players at this summer’s Copa America as Brazil won the tournament, leading to hope that he can rediscover his club form. At Bayern, Coutinho has a big opportunity to secure a place in the starting lineup given Thomas Muller’s gradual decline the last two seasons.
“We have been working with Philippe Coutinho for some time and are very happy that we were able to realize this transfer now,” said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “Our thanks to FC Barcelona for agreeing to this transfer. In Philippe, a player comes to FC Bayern who will strengthen our offensive with his creativity and excellent technique.”
Bayern drew 2-2 with Hertha Berlin in their season opener, a disappointing result that saw Bayern down 2-1 at halftime and unable to find anything more than a 60th minute Robert Lewandowski equalizer from the penalty spot.
Robert Lewandowski scored twice for the seven-time defending champion, but Bayern failed to make the most of its chances and will rue the setback after Hertha capitalized on two mistakes to score twice in a three-minute period.
Bayern coach Niko Kovac congratulated counterpart Ante Covic after making his league debut in charge of the visitors.
Lewandowski did not have to wait long before opening his league account in the 24th minute, sliding in to convert Serge Gnabry‘s cross after Joshua Kimmich was given plenty of space to surge through the middle.
A rout looked possible as Hertha’s defense continued to look shaky, but Dodi Lukebakio struck against the run of play in the 36th for the visitors, the Belgian’s shot from distance taking a big deflection off Vedad Ibisevic’s back to give Manuel Neuer no chance.
Barcelona spokesperson Guillermo Amor confirmed the progress of negotiations on Friday:
“We can confirm that there is an agreement in principle for the loan of Coutinho to Bayern and we just have to finalize the deal”
According to Mundo Deportivo and Sport, Bayern will pay between $16 million and $22 million for this season’s loan, with an option to make the deal permanent for $133 million. Coutinho was left out of Barcelona’s squad for Friday’s La Liga opener against Athletic Bilbao.
Barcelona have spent the entire summer shopping Coutinho to most of the biggest clubs across Europe, desperate to unburden themselves of the 27-year-old Brazilian’s lucrative contract and recoup a sizable chunk of the (up to) $192 million they paid to acquire him from Liverpool barely 18 months ago. Tottenham Hotspur were briefly linked with Coutinho prior to the English transfer window closing on Aug. 8, but those reports were quickly shot down.
Bayern Munich’s got another fight on its hands when it comes to the Bundesliga.
Sounds insane, we know; The eight-time defending league champions have seen five teams finish runner-up in Germany’s top flight, and shook off a quality challenge from Borussia Dortmund — the last team to win the league — last season to claim its 29th title.
Niko Kovac is back in the fold, as are the top stars of the team, but it’s still going to be feel a bit different with Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, and Mats Hummels leaving town and a pair of World Cup winners — Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard — arriving at the Allianz Arena.
Robert Lewandowski is still there, as is Joshua Kimmich, and most of the club’s top minute eaters from last season’s title run. Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka, and Kinglsey Coman will play even bigger roles, the club has quality young hotshots like Canadian teen Alphonso Davies, and Thiago Alcantara will be the straw that stirs the drink for young and old alike.
Dortmund has only lost Christian Pulisic, who’s headed “back” to Chelsea, and has again claimed an impressive summer haul (even if we knew a lot of the names prior to the end of the season).
Hummels is back, and Paco Alcacer’s loan has been made permanent. Oddly enough, those two moves might be the least impactful of the handful, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt and Gladbach’s Thorgan Hazard true difference makers in the midfield and Nico Schulz (Hoffenheim) a true hope for the back line.
Dortmund also added U.S. youth wunderkind Giovanni Reyna, though it’ll take time for the 16-year-old to run through the ranks.
The bookies think BVB is the only club with a prayer of claiming the title in place of Bayern, as reflected by 3/10 odds to the holders and 4/1 to the runners-up.
Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig are 33/1 odds, but that feels a little too much considering the additions of Ademola Lookman and Christopher Nkunku to go with Chelsea loanee Ethan Ampadu and Red Bull Salzburg star Hannes Wolf.
Bayer is a distant fourth, and has to hope that Kerem Demirbay’s move from Hoffenheim helps offset the loss of Brandt to BVB.
From Bayer on-down there’s a lot of uncertainty, as seemingly everyone lost a star of three. Eintracht Frankfurt sold Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller and is hoping Dejan Jovelijc turns out to be their next big capture from Serbia. Hoffenheim sold Demirbay, Schulz and Joelinton (Newcastle) and is yet to really address the goals aside from lower league scorer Sargis Adamyan.
Gladbach sold Hazard and is betting on a breakthrough from Schalke purchase and former next big thing Breel Embolo. Speaking of Schalke, they could be in trouble again and will need a big show from U.S. international Weston McKennie.
All of this stands to claim the following: Though surprises are possible, the league is downright unpredictable heading into the season aside from spots 1, 2, and maybe 3.
Americans Abroad: John Brooks will lead Wolfsburg’s back line, the aformentioned McKennie is going to be terribly important to Schalke’s hopes, and Tyler Adams returns for a first full season at RB Leipzig.
Josh Sargent is hopeful to make himself a league mainstay with Werder Bremen, and
Timothy Chandler’s still on the books at Eintracht Frankfurt, Fabian Johnson remains at ‘Gladbach, and Alfredo Morales is still at Fortuna Dusseldorf along with Man City loanee and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
German born U.S. U-20 defender Lennard Maloney has been promoted with FC Union Berlin, while former NYCFC striker Khiry Shelton is with fellow new boys Paderborn.
And there’s an MLS connection to join Adams, Davies and Shelton: Augsburg has added FC Dallas playmaker Carlos Gruezo.
The new boys: Union Berlin has bought enough talent to rise up the table a bit, while Paderborn and Koln have more questions than Union but still some guile in their ranks. Koln in particular might have the best shot to stay up on pedigree alone.