By 90Min
January 30, 2019

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has reportedly "thrown in the towel" over his attempts to use Philippe Coutinho as part of his midfield, according to reports in Spain.

The Brazil international was signed for a club record €135m last year in a high-profile move from Liverpool and he's gone on to make 51 appearances for Barça, scoring 16 goals and claiming 11 assists across all competitions.

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Coutinho was signed under the impression that he would be Barcelona's long-term successor to Andrés Iniesta, but Sport claim that Valverde has given up on the idea of using him in the midfield due to his lack of support in defence.

Barcelona's head coach has arranged a meeting with Coutinho to try and find a solution, but the board of directors are concerned over the Brazilian's current situation.

Valverde supposedly wants to follow in the footsteps of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City by using two naturally attacking midfielders - Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva, for example - alongside a pivot sitting just in front of the defence.

Coutinho is largely playing second fiddle to Ousmane Dembélé in Barcelona's attack this season and he is claimed to be upset at not being in the first team, something which both Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez have supposedly caught wind of in recent weeks.

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The 26-year-old was even linked with a move away from the Camp Nou ahead of the January transfer window, but aside from tenuous links with Manchester United, there don't appear to be any potential suitors for Coutinho so early into his Barcelona career.

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