Philippe Coutinho returned to action against Bayern Munich in the Champions League after recovering from a long-term knee injury, one which sidelined him for nine months.
The Brazilian midfielder’s contract with Barcelona is set to expire in 2023, which means that next summer will be key for the former Liverpool star.
Barcelona‘s policy for players who have one year left in their contracts dictates that whoever does not renew his contract, will be offloaded in the summer before the deal comes to end.
Hence, the 2021/22 campaign is expected to be Coutinho‘s last opportunity to establish himself in the team, who will have to make a decision on his future in June.
Joan Laporta has made it clear that the future of the players whose deals run for one more year will be decided the summer before the contract expires.
The cases of Ousmane Dembele, Ilaix Moriba and Alejandro Balde came to prove this point, as the former will renew his deal in the coming weeks, the talented midfielder joined RB Leipzig and the latter accepted the club’s offer to extend his contract.
Meanwhile, Coutinho has yet to live up to expectations. He participated in 22 games across all competitions in his first half season with Blaugrana, for whom he netted nine goals.
In his first full campaign, back in 2018/19, Coutinho played 54 games and scored 11 goals and in following term he was loaned out to Bayern Munich in search of playing time.
Last season, he returned to the Camp Nou and played in the first few games for Barcelona, but picked up a long-term injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the 2020/21 term.
Since joining Barcelona from Liverpool, Coutinho has featured in 91 games across all competitions and has hit the back of the net 23 times.
Against Bayern Munich, Coutinho took to the pitch to replace Luuk de Jong in the second half and played a total of 24 minutes.
However, in the next few games the Brazilian midfielder is expected to be given more playing time by Ronald Koeman and this could be his last chance to prove his worth at the Catalan side.