Coutinho gets Bayern’s number 10 after Robben gives go-ahead

MUNICH (AP) – Arjen Robben has given his permission for Philippe Coutinho to wear his old number 10 jersey while on loan at Bayern Munich.

The 27-year-old Coutinho passed a medical examination last Sunday and signed a contract through June 2020, when Bayern have the option of making the loan permanent.

“Arjen had no problem with it. He said Philippe was a worthy successor,” Bayern Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Monday at the Brazil playmaker’s presentation in Munich.

Rummenigge said Bayern had not planned to use Robben’s number 10 or Franck Ribéry’s number seven this season as a tribute to both retired wingers, but the club changed its mind as the negotiations with Barcelona over Coutinho’s loan deal began to progress.

“We had a chat with Robben. We wanted to give his number to Philippe as a sign of esteem,” Rummenigge said.

Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho, the new recruit of FC Bayern Munich, poses during his presentation in Munich, southern Germany. PHOTO: AFP

Bayern announced earlier in the day that the loan move had been completed, saying financial details wouldn’t be disclosed. But Barcelona said the German club “will pay EUR8.5 million and the player’s wages.”

“The agreement also sees an option to buy for Bayern fixed at EUR120 million,” the Spanish club said.

Rummenigge said the EUR8.5 million was “a price among friends”, saying, “We have had a very good relationship for years with Barcelona.

“Apart from that, Barcelona didn’t want to hinder the transfer as Philippe very much wanted to come to us.”

Although Coutinho failed to live up to expectations after joining Barcelona in January 2018 for a club-record transfer from Liverpool worth EUR160 million, his arrival in Germany has also been welcomed by other clubs in the Bundesliga.

“You can only congratulate Bayern. It’s good when such a name plays in the Bundesliga,” a chief executive from Bayern’s rival club Borussia Dortmund told German daily Bild.

Dortmund player Julian Brandt, Fortuna Düsseldorf coach Friedhelm Funkel and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Sporting Director Max Eberl also welcomed the transfer.

Coutinho said he was looking to stay longer at Bayern than the initial season on loan.

“I have a huge challenge in front of me here, and hope to stay a long time and win many titles,” Coutinho said.