Does Phillipe Coutinho deserve the number 10 outfit at Camp Nou?

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The Azulgranas have reportedly offered their No. 10 kit to Brazillian attacking midfielder, Phillippe Coutinho at the Camp Nou. The highly famed and historic No. 10 of FC Barcelona have been a part of our daily household for last 13 years as it was of Lionel Messi’s before his shocking departure from Spain last week. Leo, who has currently signed a two years + one year extension (optional) deal with Ligue 1 giants, Paris Saint-Germain will be seen donning the No. 30 kit at the Parc des Princes.

Now, there have been questions whether Phillipe Coutinho will be able to handle the immense weight of the No. 10 kit or not. Afterall, his performance at Barça have been fair since his arrival in Spain during the 2017/18 season. In 96 matches, he has scored just 26 goals, definitely not a performance that can make someone deserving enough for the Blaugrana No. 10 outfit. There were even rumours that the FC Barcelona Board will retire the kit but as per LaLiga’s rules, a team cannot retire any kit number between 1-25 and they have to be assigned to a senior team player for the upcoming season, if vacant.

Coutinho during the 2018/19 season. A season which he wouldn’t like to recall even for once in his whole career.

In this case, players who are being promoted from the academy, will be assigned a number between 26 and 50. For instance, Spanish centre-back Oscar Mingueza featured regularly in the senior team last season, but as he wasn’t registered in the initial squad, he was the shirt number, 28.

Considering the LaLiga rules, Barça will have to assign a player with the shirt number, 10. In that case, considering the previous season’s stats, Pedri will be the odds-on-favourite for the historic number 10 outfit. Pedri is a La Masia Academy recruit and in his debut season for Barça’s senior team, the young, Spanish midfield engine has played 52 matches in which, he has got four goals and six assists for his name. His sensational work rate is something he has been praised for the whole season and Pedri’s playing style makes him the best possible heir to Leo Messi, at this moment in time.

Lastly, assigning Phillipe Coutinho the number 10 kit wouldn’t be good for the Brazilian as of now. Let’s give him some space to hopefully succeed this year and stay healthy.

Dipro Mukherjee
18. Calcutta. Sagittarius. Sports Columnist.

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