Barcelona medical confirms Philippe Coutinho thigh injury

Brazilian will sit out his first three weeks at the Catalan club but could return for derby

 FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu speaks during Philippe Coutinho’s presentation. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu speaks during Philippe Coutinho’s presentation. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

 

Philippe Coutinho presented with a thigh injury during a medical with his new club Barcelona, which the Spanish side says will keep him sidelined for around 20 days.

Coutinho was undergoing his routine medical tests with Barca on Monday morning as he put the finishing touches on his record-breaking move to the Nou Camp.

The Brazil international missed both of Liverpool’s opening two games in 2018 with a thigh problem and Barca have confirmed he is now set to be sidelined for the rest of January.

A club statement read: “Coutinho has an injury to his right thigh and he is expected to be out for around three weeks.”

Coutinho was due to sign a five-and-a-half-year contract with the Catalan giants following his medical before being officially presented this afternoon.

The switch will see Coutinho become the second most expensive footballer in history after Liverpool and Barca agreed a deal for the playmaker which could be worth up to £142million.

It is the biggest transfer fee involving a British club and is also the most Barca have ever paid for a player, eclipsing the £96.8million — rising to a possible £135.5million — they splashed out on Borussia Dortmund winger Ousmane Dembele last August.

Coutinho’s compatriot Neymar is the world’s costliest player following his £200.6million switch from Barca to Paris St Germain.

Barca have had to bide their time to secure Coutinho’s services, having seen a £118million bid rejected by Liverpool in August after making him their number one target to replace Neymar.

Coutinho also handed in a transfer request at the time in an attempt to force a move, but was unsuccessful.

Barca maintained their interest in the former Inter Milan man, though, and on Saturday the clubs announced a deal had been struck.

If Coutinho, who spent six months on loan at Barca’s city rivals Espanyol from Inter in 2012, is unavailable for the remainder of the month then he would miss at least four LaLiga and Copa del Rey games for his new employers.

Barca’s first match of February is scheduled to be the derby against Espanyol.

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