Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho is set to join Bayern Munich on a one-year loan, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed.
“I can confirm [Bayern sporting director] Hasan Salihamidzic and I were in Barcelona last Wednesday. And we reached an agreement with both the club and the player over a transfer,” Rummenigge told reporters after his club’s 2-2 Bundesliga draw with Hertha Berlin on Friday.
“The player is expected here in Munich in the next days, Sunday or Monday at the latest. He’ll do his medical and then sign his contract.
“I must thank Barcelona. I am on very friendly terms with the Barcelona president [Josep Maria Bartomeu], and that, at the end of the day, maybe helped us transfer this player to FC Bayern. It’s a very important player for us, not only because of his name, but also because of the way he plays. His quality will help our attacking game. We are happy.”
Rummenigge added that the defending Bundesliga champions will have an option to buy Coutinho after the loan period ends.
Following Bayern’s match, club manager Niko Kovac said: ”In my opinion, not only FC Bayern Munich, but also the entire Bundesliga and the whole of Germany can be delighted to be welcoming such a big-name player to our league.”
Barca director Guillermo Amor had confirmed earlier Friday that the “basis of an agreement” was in place ahead of Friday’s game and said there were still details to be ironed out.
Sources told ESPN FC that Bayern will pay Coutinho’s salary in full.
Coutinho, 27, travelled with Ernesto Valverde’s squad to San Mames for Barcelona’s 1-0 league-opening loss to Athletic Bilbao on Friday but was pulled from the squad with just over an hour to go before kickoff in the Basque Country and watched the game from the stands.
Barca have been looking to move Coutinho on all summer, with sources first telling ESPN FC after the Champions League loss to Liverpool that the Catalan club wanted to shift the Brazilian, their record signing at a fee rising to €160 million.
The Spanish champions hoped to find a buyer in England, but late interest from Tottenham failed to lead to a deal.
Coutinho had also been used as a pawn in a potential deal for Neymar. Barca were prepared to send him to Paris Saint-Germain, in addition to cash, in a bid to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.
However, sources told ESPN FC the player had opted to accept an offer from Bayern, which has been on the table for the past few days. Sources close to the player confirmed he’s expected to travel to Bayern over the weekend for a medical and to finalise his move.
Barca signed Coutinho from Liverpool in 2018, but he has failed to live up to his price tag, with fans turning on him at the end of last season.
The relationship with the supporters hit a low when he told them to be quiet as he celebrated a goal in a Champions League victory over Manchester United at Camp Nou.
He was then one of the symbols of Barca’s catastrophic end to the season, in which the Catalans lost 4-0 at Anfield on their way out of the Champions League and then fell to defeat against Valencia in the Copa del Rey final.
In other Bayern transfer news, the club announced after Friday’s match that it acquired 20-year-old French midfielder Mickael Cuisance from league rivals Borussia Monchengladbach.
ESPN FC correspondents Sam Marsden, Moises Llorens and Stephan Uersfeld contributed to this report.