Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 September 2019

Philippe Coutinho joy at joining 'one of the best clubs in Europe' after completing season-long loan to Bayern Munich from Barcelona

Bundesliga champions also have option to buy the Brazilian at the end of 2019/20 campaign

Philippe Coutinho says he is looking forward to a new challenge at "one of the best clubs in Europe" after completing a season-long loan to Bayern Munich.

The German champions will pay Barcelona €8.5 million (Dh34m) for a one-year loan with an option to make the deal permanent for €120 million next summer.

"For me, this move means a new challenge in a new country with one of the best clubs in Europe," Coutinho told Bayern's website.

"I'm very much looking forward to that. Like FC Bayern, I have big ambitions and I'm convinced that I can achieve them together with my new teammates."

Bayern had announced on Friday evening that a deal "in principle" to sign Coutinho had been agreed, with their chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic having been in Barcelona that week.

Rummenigge said on Monday: "We've been working on bringing in Philippe Coutinho for quite some time and we're very happy that we've been able to complete this transfer.

"Our thanks go to FC Barcelona for agreeing to the transfer. With his creativity and outstanding skills, Philippe is a player who will immediately strengthen our attack."

The move, for the 2019/20 campaign at least, brings to an end an unsuccessful stint for the player at Barcelona.

The playmaker, 27, has endured an indifferent 19 months at Barcelona after joining from Liverpool for an initial €120 million (Dh489m) in January 2018, failing to nail down a regular position under manager Ernesto Valverde while also struggling to win over fans.

His future at Camp Nou has been the subject of intense speculation for much of the summer. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp last month ruled out a return to Anfield where Coutinho had spent four-and-a-half years as a player while reports in France hinted that he could be used as a makeweight in a deal that would take Neymar back to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain.

Coutinho, who has scored 21 goals in 75 games for Barca in all competitions and won La Liga in each of his two seasons at the club and one Copa del Rey, saw his place further jeopordised by the arrival of French striker Antoine Griezmann over the summer from Atletico Madrid. Coutinho was left out of the squad that suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in Barca's opening La Liga game on Friday.

"In Barcelona a lot of things did not turn out as we had imagined," Coutinho said at his official presentation in Munich. "But this is now history. I hope to stay here a long time and win many titles."

Coutinho's signing may go some way to appease disgruntled Bayern fans unhappy over the club's failure to land a host of big names over the summer to replace the departed attacking duo of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

Bayern were frustrated in their attempts to sign Germany international Leroy Sane after the Manchester City winger suffered a long-term injury in the Community Shield on August 4 while Chelsea resisted overtures from the the Bundesliga champions for promising winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Like Coutinho, Croatia winger Ivan Perisic joined on a season-long loan from Inter Milan, while the club splashed out a combined €115m to sign defenders Benjamin Pavard from Stuttgart and Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid.

Salihamidzic said: "Philippe made it very clear to us during the negotiations in Barcelona that he absolutely wanted to move to FC Bayern.

"He's a world-class player with great ability, who we can deploy in a number of positions in our forward line, so the FC Bayern squad has gained even more quality.

"Philippe Coutinho will help us achieve the ambitious targets we've set for this season."

Barca said in a statement: "FC Barcelona would like to thank to publicly thank Philippe Coutinho for his commitment and dedication [and] wishes him all the best in this new stage of his career."

Bayern began their Bundesliga title defence with a 2-2 draw at home to Hertha Berlin on Friday.

Updated: August 19, 2019 05:34 PM

SHARE

SHARE

Editor's Picks