Chelsea are reportedly intent on signing Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona, provided their transfer ban is suspended by FIFA.
According to a report from reputed Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Premier League giants Chelsea will prioritize a summer move for Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho, as they look to replace exit-bound superstar Eden Hazard, if their transfer ban is frozen.
Chelsea are resigned to the fact that Hazard is on his way out of the club, with an agreement in place for him to join Real Madrid. The 28-year-old seemed to confirm the move after firing Chelsea to the UEFA Europa League triumph on Wednesday night, claiming it was time for a new challenge.
Chelsea have strengthened their attack with Christian Pulisic arriving from Borussia Dortmund, but Hazard’s impending exit would leave a gaping hole in the side. But, as things stand, the West Londoners will be unable to bring in a replacement for the Belgian, as they have been hit with a two-window transfer ban by FIFA.
Chelsea had made an appeal against the ban, but it was shot down by the governing body, following which they are planning to approach the Court of Arbitration for Sport in order to get the ban frozen so that they can make signings this summer. And should that come to be, the Blues have set their sights on Coutinho in order to replace Hazard.
The Brazilian superstar sealed a dream move to Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018, in a deal worth £142 million. But, he has struggled to establish himself as a regular in the Catalans’ first-team and has constantly been on the receiving end of some harsh treatment from the fans.
Coutinho managed a return of just 5 goals and 2 assists from 34 La Liga appearances and failed to make the most of the chances that came his way towards the end of the season, after Ousmane Dembele’s injury. As a result, Barcelona are open to the idea of offloading the player this summer, as they look to re-sign Neymar from PSG.
Coutinho is contracted to Barcelona till the summer of 2023, but the report states that an offer in the range of €150 million should be enough for the La Liga champions to convince to part with their record signing. Along with Chelsea, there has been some level of interest in the playmaker from Manchester United as well.
Coutinho, despite his struggles at Barcelona, remains a quality player. And given that he has done exceptionally well in the Premier League during his time with Liverpool, the 26-year-old would prove to be a solid replacement for Hazard at Chelsea. However, any move would be possible only if the transfer ban imposed on the Blues would be frozen for the summer window.