Chelsea boss Frank Lampard can be the man to get Philippe Coutinho back to his best form, according to the Barcelona outcast’s former Liverpool team-mate Glen Johnson.
Coutinho swapped Merseyside for Camp Nou in 2018, calling time on an impressive five-year career with the Reds and securing a dream switch to play alongside the likes of Lionel Messi.
It hasn’t been the fantasy move that the Brazilian had hoped for, however, as his failure to replicate his Liverpool form eventually saw him loaned out to Bayern Munich, who are unlikely to exercise their option to buy upon the deal’s conclusion.
A return to the Premier League has been mooted for 27-year-old Coutinho, with it suggested a retracing of steps back to the English top tier could see the attacker return to his brilliant best.
Chelsea have been the most heavily linked club with regards to transfer rumours, and former Blues full-back Johnson says Lampard’s man management might be the key to unlocking Coutinho’s potential once again.
“Obviously you look on paper at his CV, at the clubs he’s been at, and it’s unbelievable,” Johnson told talkSPORT. “You don’t get to those clubs without an enormous amount of ability.
“He’s not reached the heights he’s capable of since he’s left Liverpool and it’s hard to put your finger on why. I know he’s a quiet guy, a very nice lad, but he’s got a bit of fight about him on the pitch, he won’t be pushed around.
“At Barca you go there and there’s a superstar in every corner you look, and maybe he just blended in a little bit rather than being the key man. I just think he needs to be made to feel a bit special; he needs an arm around him, and I think he’d get that at Chelsea.”
“I think he’s just a bit cautious when he meets new people and it takes him a bit of time to come out of his shell. That’s why I guess when he walks into a new dressing room it will take a bit of time for the lads to get to know him, but he’s a really nice lad.
“I think it would be great for him and his family to be in London and Lamps could be the man that puts his arm around him and makes him feel he is a key part of their plans, and I think that could force the best out of him.
“There is no doubt about it, the boy can play. He’s a proper footballer.
“He’s not the quickest lad and he’s clearly not the biggest lad, but his brain, his sharpness and speed of his football brain… he just picks that pass and he’s got that technique and perfect mobility in short spaces that opens up defences, and that’s something you can’t teach.
“And if Chelsea get the chance to sign him, they should be signing him. He’s unbelievable.”
Source: News update