From being a transferable player to a possible successor to Messi: the unexpected candidate to keep the Barcelona jersey 10.
Everything indicates that Coutinho will be the new owner of the symbolic number that became available after the departure of the Argentine star to Paris Saint Germain.
The mystery remains to see who will wear the number 10 shirt of FC Barcelona. After 13 years of being in the power of Lionel Messi, who inherited it in 2008 when Ronaldinho left, this symbolic number could once again fall into the hands of a Brazilian player: Philippe Coutinho is the leading candidate to keep it and start a new stage in the club.
According to the newspaper Mundo Deportivo, at Barça, they have offered Coutinho to be the new owner of the ten that Messi has set free with his departure to Paris Saint Germain. Thus, the 29-year-old Brazilian forward has confirmed his continuity at the Catalan club and will have a new opportunity to show that he can shine at the Camp Nou.
It is true that Ronald Koeman and the technical secretariat tried to find his equipment but have not been successful. Coutinho was injured, and that prevented him from using pre-season-friendly matches as a window. In the absence of offers, the Dutch coach finally decided to include it in their plans and exploit its potential.
In this context, and after receiving the medical discharge last Saturday, Coutinho could be the heir to Messi's 10. However, one of the signs that bring him closer to this shirt is that he was out of the call against Real Sociedad, and the number 14, which belonged to him until last season, was awarded to the youth King Manaj.
So far, the ten that belonged to Leo Messi is the only available number. Others could be released, but that is subject to the exits of Miralem Pjanić (who wears the 8th) and Samuel Umtiti (23). Number 25 is also free, but LaLiga reserves it for a goalkeeper.
Coutinho, who has a contract until 2023, has the final decision. In his first spell at Barça, the Brazilian wore number 7 (now it belongs to Griezmann ), and last season he wore number 14; you already know what it is to wear shirt number 10. It was the number he wore in Germany during his assignment at Bayern Munich, and he also wore this number during his time at Liverpool FC.
The Catalan press points out that "if there are no exits between now and Saturday, (the 10th) would be the number that (Coutinho) would wear against Athletic Bilbao if he enters the call. " This is how things have changed for a footballer who Koeman thinks can still bring positive things to his system, at least until the winter market. At Barça, they are aware that selling Coutinho would save them their excellent salary, but when no offers come in, they already see him as the new owner of the ten that was Messi's.