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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Coutinho can get back to his best at Chelsea, says Rivaldo

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The Barcelona legend would like to see the midfielder call time on a frustrating spell at Camp Nou and return to the Premier League

Philippe Coutinho can get “back to his best” if he seals a transfer to Chelsea this summer, according to Rivaldo, who admits that his fellow Brazilian has been unable to live up to expectations at Barcelona.

Coutinho emerged as one of the brightest young talents of his generation during a five-year spell at Liverpool, before opting to complete a big-money move to Spain in January 2018.

Barcelona snapped the 27-year-old up for £142 million ($176m) and tied him down to a five-year contract at Camp Nou, but his first full season at the club did not go according to plan.

Although the Blaugrana were able to successfully defend their La Liga crown, the campaign was blighted by a Champions League semi-final defeat at the hands of Liverpool and a Copa del Rey final loss to Valencia.

Coutinho contributed 11 goals to Barca’s cause across all competitions, but struggled to stand out in a side full of world-class performers such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Ernesto Valverde ultimately took the decision to send the Brazil international out on loan to Bayern, who have the option to sign him permanently at the end of the current season. However, Coutinho is also being heavily linked with a return to the Premier League, with Chelsea reportedly leading the race for his signature ahead of Tottenham.

Rivaldo thinks that Stamford Bridge would be a “good option” for Coutinho, and hopes to see him regain his confidence ahead of the next Copa America and World Cup.

The Barca legend told Betfair: “After a season and a half at Barcelona and one more at Bayern Munich without managing to have the same success he had at Liverpool, I believe that this chance Philippe Coutinho now has of continuing his career at Chelsea could be a good option.

“He will move to a big club and to a country and competition he knows well where he had his best years so far, so if that transfer really happens, I’m sure he will have a good chance of seeing things improve for him in the future, after all, he has already shined on the Premier League before.

“Looking at Coutinho’s last few years we can say that he didn’t achieve what was expected of him, but he still has time to recover his best football and with his confidence back he could easily become the same player he was at Liverpool.

“I consider this to be just a not-so-good spell for him, but we can’t say that he is playing poorly because it would be a lie, things are simply not running as well as many would expect when he left Liverpool to sign for Barcelona.

“He is still a regular in the Brazilian national team and just hasn’t been lucky enough at Barcelona or Bayern, but perhaps that could change with a new club and I believe this would be a nice opportunity for him to get back to his best football at Chelsea.

“Furthermore, next year we’ll have Copa America and one year later the World Cup, so it would be important for Coutinho to be playing at a good European club in order not to lose his place in the national team when those big tournaments come around.”

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