Bayern agree deal to take Coutinho on loan
The move could be made permanent at the end of the season.
Bayern Munich have agreed a deal “in principle” with Barcelona to sign Philippe Coutinho on a season-long loan deal.
The Bundesliga champions announced following their 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin on Friday night that they had reached an agreement with the former Liverpool star, with an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season.
The Brazilian is due in Munich in the coming days to finalise the deal and undergo a medical.
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic travelled to Barcelona this week to seal the deal.
“I can confirm that I was in Barcelona with Hasan on Wednesday and that we reached an agreement with both the club and the player,” Rummenigge said on the club website. “We have been watching Coutinho for a while.”
Salihamidzic added: “I would also like to thank Barcelona. Of course, a few details are still to be sorted out, but we are very happy that we will bring this player to Bayern.”
Coutinho’s future has been the subject of intense speculation for the whole summer, given the arrival at the Nou Camp of Antoine Griezmann and their interest in bringing Neymar back to the club.
The Brazilian, who has struggled to reproduce the sort of form he showed for Liverpool since leaving the Reds in a £142million deal in January 2018, was not in the Barcelona squad for their defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Friday.
Bayern coach Niko Kovac, who saw his side drop two points at home in their opening game of the Bundesliga season, also welcomed the impending arrival of Coutinho.
“I am of the opinion that not only FC Bayern, but the entire Bundesliga and all of Germany can look forward to welcoming such a top player here in this league,” he said.
Bayern also announced the “imminent signing” of 20-year-old French midfielder Mickael Cuisance from Borussia Monchengladbach.
On the pitch, Kovac admitted his side were punished for not making the most of their dominance against Hertha.
In the end, the hosts needed a Robert Lewandowski penalty to earn a point after Hertha scored two quickfire goals at the end of the first half.
“Hertha were a bit lucky to share the spoils, but they defended well,” Kovac said. “We had a lot of chances, we failed to take many clear-cut chances.
“But I can’t blame my team. They tried everything, they gave it everything. It was one-way traffic, we were dominant. But we lacked the bit of luck you need. A compliment to Hertha for bearing up against it. We must make sure we soon collect the two points we failed to take today.”
Hertha boss Ante Covic, in his first Bundesliga match as a head coach, said: “When you play away to Munich you know from the start you can’t dominate the match as you’d like to. You must still believe you can have some good moments to take something away from here.”