Coutinho to join Bayern Munich on season-long loan

The former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho is on the verge of joining Bayern Munich on a season-long loan.

The Brazil international, who was left out of Barcelona’s squad for their La Liga opener against Athletic Bilbao on Friday – which they lost 1-0 – looks set to join the German champions following a summer of speculation. 

His loan deal is expected to include an option for a permanent move.

“We can confirm that there is an agreement in principle for the loan of Coutinho to Bayern,” said Barcelona’s club director, Guillermo Amor, before the league match. “We just have to finalise the deal.”

Bayern’s sporting director, Hasan Salihamidzic, added: “I can confirm that [chief executive] Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and I were in Barcelonaand we have reached an agreement with the club, player and agent.”

“Only a few details are still to be sorted out. We are very happy that we will bring this player to Bayern.”

The 27-year-old joined Barcelona from Liverpool in a £142m deal in January 2018 but has struggled to find his form in Spain and was linked with loan moves to Tottenham, Arsenal and even Manchester United during the summer window. He is pencilled in to have his Bayern medical next week.

Coutinho has made 75 appearances in all for Barcelona, scoring 21 goals, and was part of the side beaten in the semi-finals of the Champions League by the eventual winners, Liverpool.

Bayern’s coach, Niko Kovac, who saw his side drop two points at home in a 2-2 draw with Herha Berlin in their opening game of the Bundesliga season, also welcomed the impending arrival of Coutinho.

“I am of the opinion that not only FC Bayern, but the entire Bundesliga and all of Germany can look forward to welcoming such a top player here in this league,” he said.

Bayern also announced the “imminent signing” of 20-year-old French midfielder Mickaël Cuisance from Borussia Monchengladbach. On the pitch, Kovac admitted his side were punished for not making the most of their dominance against Hertha. In the end, the hosts needed a Robert Lewandowski penalty to earn a point after Hertha scored two quickfire goals at the end of the first half.

“Hertha were a bit lucky to share the spoils, but they defended well,” Kovac said. “We had a lot of chances, we failed to take many clear-cut chances. But I can’t blame my team. They tried everything, they gave it everything. It was one-way traffic, we were dominant. But we lacked the bit of luck you need. A compliment to Hertha for bearing up against it. We must make sure we soon collect the two points we failed to take today.”

Hertha boss Ante Covic, in his first Bundesliga match as a head coach, said: 

“When you play away to Munich you know from the start you can’t dominate the match as you’d like to. You must still believe you can have some good moments to take something away from here.”

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