Young Brazilian Philippe Coutinho struggled to gain regular first team football last season at Inter. With manager and fellow countryman Leonardo leaving last week there is a real chance the talented young attacking midfielder can make his mark for the Nerazzurri next season.
After signing from Vasco de Gama in 2008 he remained in Brazil for the following two years until turning 18. At the start of last season he was playing regularly under former coach Rafa Benitez and was even hailed by Inter president Massimo Moratti as: “the future of Inter”. Praise indeed for someone so young but injury problems and the change in coach curtailed his progress for the remainder of the season.
Now that the coaching position has changed again it will be fascinating to see how this prodigious young talent fares next season. There have been rumblings in the press that he maybe sent out on loan in order to gain further experience. The Nerazzurri have been linked with several attacking players in this transfer window which could reduce his chances of playing regularly next season.
He is at a crucial stage in his development and needs regular first team football if his growth is to continue. One of the serious problems affecting modern football is managing to control youth development. Most big teams have large squads which makes it harder for the younger players to flourish. However, whomever Inter appoint as their next manager will know that there is a real talent in Coutinho.
The attacking midfielder has great technical ability which is aided by his ability to use both feet effectively. With a midfield consisting of Coutinho and Wesley Sneijder, Inter would be lethal in attack. However, there are rumours surrounding the futures of Samuel Eto’o and Sneijder, and so the Brazilian could find himself working with a new strike force next season.
Although there could be temptation to seek a move away for more regular football, it seems more logical to wait until a new coach is appointed. After investing in the young Brazilian at such a young age it seems too hasty to look to offload him this early into his European adventure. It would seem more logical to seek a way of integrating him into a new look side next season.
The youngster has been left out of the Brazilian squad for the Copa America which begins in July. However, he will play a major part in the Under-20s squad which has been provisionally selected for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Colombia this summer. He is one of only two players who already play for European clubs and it is an excellent stage for him to showcase his incredible talent.
It has been a rather frustrating season for Philippe Coutinho at Inter but next season promises so much more.