Transfer: Coutinho takes final decision on joining Manchester United from Barcelona

Lionel Messi

"Coutinho is perhaps not at last year's level and Dembélé has passed a little above him", Aspiazu said on the GOL television broadcast of the match. However, Barcelona lost the match to Levante by a 2-1 score.

He was on target in the Copa del Rey in midweek but that was his first goal since October.

Ernesto Valverde urged Philippe Coutinho to continue fighting for his position following the playmaker's goal-scoring return to Barcelona's starting XI. Fellow record signing Ousmane Dembele joined Coutinho in completing a full 90 minutes and Valverde was happy with their performances. So there seems no reason to buy an attacking player. However, regulars like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, and Jordi Alba took their break ahead of the busy January schedule.

Whilst the possibility of his return is now growing in reports, it is still not yet known if Josep Maria Bartomeu will simply allow him to return - having previously requested an apology from the player over his exit.

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However, the report also claims that despite his current unhappiness with his lack of playing time, Coutinho is not thinking about a move away from Barca so soon and his family are settled in Spain. Kia Joorabchian and Giuliano Bertolucci represent Coutinho and they have already told Barca that they want the situation to change.

"I look more at what he does well, the same with Dembele or Arturo Vidal. It's a repetitive question with interchangeable names".

"We are always open to improving but we will have to see if any players come in", Valverde said.

"I think he feels good here, both in the dressing room and on the pitch, he is disciplined, he does a lot of things on the pitch". Second leg is next week Thursday 21:30 CET at home, and there´s still everything to play for!

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