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alexander_zverev Alexander Zverev Alexander Zverev
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BARCELONA

Coutinho wanted to leave in May - Valverde ahead of Bayern loan

Ernesto Valverde was asked about Philippe Coutinho's proposed loan move to German champions Bayern Munich.

Coutinho wanted to leave Barca in May – Valverde ahead of Bayern loan

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.

Barça 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 exit "in his head" at end of last season

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

Asked about Coutinho following Barça's disappointing LaLiga 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 Rodríguez after his two-year loan from Real Madrid ended, has struggled to cement his place at Camp Nou since joining Barça in a reported 160-million-euro 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 Barça retained their LaLiga crown in 2018-19, while he managed 11 in all competitions.

Follows fellow loan recruit Perisic in joining Bayern

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 Sané after the Manchester City winger suffered a serious knee injury.