Philippe Coutinho's gesture will give Barcelona an important transfer boost this summer

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It was a shrewd bit of business when Barcelona signed Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in January.

The Brazilian may have cost a club record £142million, but his eight goals and five assists in 18 league games in the second half of last season began to pay some of that back.

The 26-year-old is tasked with filling the voids created firstly by Neymar's departure for PSG, and more fittingly, the gap in central midfield created by the exit of Andres Iniesta.

There can be little doubt that the La Liga champions have secured one of the best players in the world in his position, especially after he excelled with his national side at the World Cup.

Granted, the Selecao were generally underwhelming, but very few people had a bad word to say about Coutinho, who chipped in with two goals and two assists.

And as he heads back to domestic duty at the Nou Camp, the playmaker could play a significant role for Barcelona this summer.

Both Mundo Deportivo and Marca are reporting that the former Reds midfielder has been busy procuring a Portuguese passport behind the scenes, which will come in very handy for Ernesto Valverde indeed.

Coutinho's wife is from Portugal, which means he qualifies.

Why is this so important? 

Spanish teams are only allowed three players from non-EU countries and Barcelona cannot, therefore, sign anyone else from outside Europe, because they already have Yerry Mina (Colombia), Coutinho (Brazil), and new boy Arthur (Brazil).

It has been assumed for a while that Mina was on his way out of Catalonia following a disappointing debut season.


Yet, the centre-back impressed in Russia, especially with his goal threat from set pieces, and it is not 100% certain that he will leave.

In fact, there is less need for Valverde to get rid of him if Barcelona aren't in danger of breaching the quota.

What is particularly interesting is that Barcelona are being heavily linked with Chelsea's Willian - another Brazilian - and perhaps this is an indication that a deal could now go ahead.

Coutinho's gesture will not be welcomed by Chelsea, who are fearing losing Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, and now Willian too, but the news will come as a huge boost to Valverde.

Who should Barcelona sign this summer? Have your say in the comments. 

Ernesto Valverde
Yerry Mina
Willian Borges da Silva
Philippe Coutinho

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