Bayern Munich potentially made one of the signings of the season when, amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain, they loaned Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona after agreeing to pay an initial €8.5m and to an option to buy at €120m. The Brazil international had spent only a season-and-a-half at the Camp Nou, having arrived from Liverpool for an initial fee of €120m that, following add-ons that would eventually have taken the total to €160m, temporarily made him the second most expensive footballer in history, after Neymar.
Following Arjen Robben’s retirement and the departures of the similarly long-serving Franck Ribéry, and James Rodríguez, Bayern sought a playmaker of the highest calibre as they rebuilt their team. If they can inspire Coutinho to rediscover the form and confidence that for so long made him so influential for Liverpool, and that unusually eluded him at Barca, they will have found him. Even in Spain he scored 21 goals and created 11 others in 76 appearances. Bayern’s status as Bundesliga champions is under threat; if they are to successfully defend their title, Coutinho’s performances are likely to be key.