4 reasons why Philippe Coutinho is struggling at Barcelona at the moment
Heralded as the natural successor to Andres Iniesta, there was widespread jubilation amongst fans of Barcelona upon the completion of the signing of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in January 2017, never mind it being for a club record sum.
The Brazilian had wowed in the Premier League with Liverpool for five seasons and it was believed that he would bring his array of tricks and excellent technique with him to Nou Camp, making an already frighteningly good Barcelona midfield almost unmatchable.
It began well enough for the 26-year-old, with him scoring 10 goals from 22 appearances in his first half season with the Catalans and it was believed that it could only get better once he fully settled into the team.
As it happened, those hopes have not been lived up to, as the Brazilian has found himself out of the starting lineup in recent weeks, having to settle on the bench instead before coming on for the last few minutes of matches.
Coutinho's last goal came way back at the tail end of October when he opened the scoring in Barcelona's 5-1 pounding of archrivals Real Madrid in the El Clasico. He was also highlighted as one of the players who would help Barcelona thrive after Messi was ruled out through injury, but he watched on as a bystander as former Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez ran the show.
So far this season, the midfielder has scored just five goals from 23 matches in all competitions which is a far cry from the output expected from him. In this piece, we would be taking a look at four reasons why Coutinho is struggling to find his feet at Barcelona at the moment.
#4 His price tag
With €120m expended to get his signature from Liverpool, Barcelona made Philippe Coutinho the third most expensive player of all time, as well as the costliest player in the illustrious history of Barcelona.
With such hefty price tag comes an added expectation, as fans and the media expect you to be the goal scorer, provider and even defender all at once, leading to such immense pressure on the shoulders of such players that they sometimes struggle to live up to the levels expected of them.
Barcelona is one of the biggest clubs in the world, having produced some of the greatest players of all time and being more expensive than any of the great players to have donned the famous colours of the Blaugrana brings with it an added pressure with the microscopic view of the world watching your every move.
History is littered with extremely talented players who fell off the radar upon completing a high profile expensive move and perhaps, the pressure to live up to his substantially hefty transfer fee could be having an adverse effect on Coutinho as he attempts to justify his price tag.