Coutinho wanted to leave – Valverde

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The manager was asked about the midfielder’s proposed loan move to German champions Bayern Munich.

Philippe Coutinho wanted to leave Barcelona at the end of last season as he prepares to join Bayern Munich on loan, according to Ernesto Valverde.

Barca and Bayern confirmed on Friday that an agreement is in place for Coutinho to move to the Bundesliga champions for the 2019-20 campaign – the deal including an option to buy the playmaker.

Coutinho had been linked to Paris Saint-Germain as a makeweight in a possible deal for former Barca star Neymar, however, the Brazilian is now set for Munich after watching Friday’s shock 1-0 loss at Athletic Bilbao from the stands.

Barcelona were toppled by a late goal from Artiz Aduriz, who fired a spectacular scissor-kick finish in the game’s waning moments to spoil the debut of summer signings Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong.

The La Liga champions also suffered another setback in the form of Luis Suarez, who left the match early with an injury.

Asked about Coutinho following Barca’s disappointing La Liga opener, head coach Valverde told Movistar: “It is a situation that last season when the league ended the player had it in his head.

“This has come up, he has accepted and hopefully he is lucky.”

Coutinho, who will help to replace James Rodriguez after his two-year loan from Real Madrid ended, has struggled to cement his place at Camp Nou since joining Barca in a reported £142 million ($201m) transfer from Liverpool in January 2018 – a move that saw him become the world’s second-most expensive player.

The 27-year-old Brazil international scored five league goals as Barca retained their La Liga crown in 2018-19, while he managed 11 in all competitions as the club fell short of Champions League glory with a stunning semi-final defeat to Coutinho’s former club Liverpool.

Coutinho is set to follow another loan signing – Ivan Perisic – through the door, though sections of Bayern’s fanbase were not impressed by the deal to sign the Inter forward, who came in as an alternative to Leroy Sane after the Manchester City winger suffered a serious knee injury.

Bayern were also heavily linked with Callum Hudson-Odoi during the winter window, although the currently-injured winger is set to remain with Chelsea for the foreseeable future.

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