Philippe Coutinho sealed his dream move to Barcelona from Liverpool back in January and, in the process, became the second most expensive footballer of all time behind Neymar.
Barça used £142 million of the Neymar money on Coutinho, who had been one of the best performers in the Premier League over the past couple of seasons.
The Brazilian playmaker - who is technically gifted, tactically intelligent and scores plenty of goals - appeared to tick all the boxes for the Catalan giants.
Coutinho hit the ground running after joining Barça midway through last season. By the end of the campaign, he’d made 22 appearances, scoring 10 goals.
It can often take new signings time to adjust - especially at a huge club like Barça - but Coutinho looked comfortable playing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta from the off.
Barça fans expected Coutinho to kick on even more this season and become increasingly influential and there have certainly been moments.
For example, in the absence of Messi, it was Coutinho who opened the scoring in last month’s Clasico. Barça went on to win the match 5-1.
Coutinho has scored five goals in 15 games this season, but Madrid-based newspaper Marca have dropped an interesting opinion about the South American on their website.
“The Brazilian cost Barcelona 145 million euros between the fixed amount and the variables. A huge investment, only surpassed by Neymar. Philippe Coutinho is not meeting expectations,” Marca argue.
“It's true that he has scored several goals, and some of them are important, but his performance levels are intermittent.
“His problem is that he doesn't make a difference on the pitch, and a few individual actions are not enough.
“He tends to disconnect too often, and Saturday at the Estadio Vallecas was another clear example.
“It's not the first time. Ernesto Valverde should take action on the matter so that it's no longer a problem.”
Indeed, Coutinho was subbed off by Valverde when Barça were 2-1 down against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday night.
The league-leaders, without the Brazilian on the pitch, went on to win the match 2-1 thanks to late goals from Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez.
As the club’s most expensive player, these are the games Coutinho is expected to drag the team by the scruff of the neck. A watered-down version of the peerless Messi, if you will.
Because of the astronomical transfer fee that Barça paid to secure Coutinho’s services, expectation levels are understandably huge.
And the Madrid-based press are clearly not impressed with what they’re seeing from the former Liverpool star right now.
Is Marca’s analysis of Philippe Coutinho harsh or fair? Have your say below.News Now - Sport News