Brazil coach tells Coutinho to choose happiness amid Barcelona pursuit

Brazil coach Tite has told Philippe Coutinho to go where he will be happy amid Barcelona’s ongoing interest in the Liverpool attacker.

Coutinho continues to be heavily linked with a move to Spanish giants Barca ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline in the Premier League, though La Liga clubs have an extra day to complete their business.

Brazil 13/2 to win World Cup

The Brazil international – subject of three failed bids from Barcelona after handing in a transfer request – is yet to feature for Liverpool this season due to a back injury and illness.

As Coutinho and CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying leaders Brazil prepare to face Ecuador on Thursday, head coach Tite provided an update on the attacking midfielder.

“I can’t assess Coutinho in financial terms,” Tite told reporters. “My thing is in the pitch, that’s my concern. We have different realities.

HD Phil Coutinho

“But I’ve talked to Coutinho, told him the same I’ve told you: go where you feel happy. If it’s Liverpool, I’ll be ok. If it’s another one, I’ll be ok.

“I have to know my limits. I don’t have to have opinion about everything. I don’t want to be a showman, to be talking about everything. I’m very discreet in this kind of things. And fair. And justice is that he can be happy.

“I don’t know which club he’s going to. He’ll decide it. But the Brazilian squad won’t lose him.”

The 25-year-old is in line to feature in Brazil’s qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia, despite his lack of playing time at Liverpool.

Back problems and a bout of illness are behind Coutinho’s Liverpool absence, though his doctor in Brazil contradicted this by claiming the player was suffering from stress brought about by uncertainty over his future.

Talking about Coutinho’s fitness, Tite said: “Coutinho was called up with 15 days of anticipation. We were aware that we are in a transfer window with all the chances of changes coming in. I have to pay attention to it.

“That’s a reality because it touches the emotional side, the player’s life, the routine of the clubs. And, at the same time, we have to look at the essence of the Brazil squad.

A player with the level and the quality of Philippe Coutinho, fit at that moment, had to be called. He had a problem. And the dimension of this injury, to know that our basis was the moment in which he arrived to the Brazilian squad. I have this responsibility of telling you this.

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“And the medical department made an assessment, a transition work, a contact from physician to physician from Liverpool, from staff to staff, I didn’t do that because I don’t speak English but we made it, so that we wouldn’t put a player at risk but also don’t lose him. Don’t lose a player with the level of Coutinho. He stays as an option.”

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