Chelsea are reportedly inching closer towards securing the services of Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona.
According to a report by Spanish publication Sport, Chelsea have taken a big step in their bid to prise Philippe Coutinho away from Barcelona in the summer transfer window. The Catalan giants, though, want €90 million, for the Brazilian international, a sum that Chelsea are not willing to pay.
Coutinho has spent the current season on loan at Bayern Munich. After failing to make a mark in his first full season at Barcelona, the 27-year-old has looked better at the Allianz Arena, but has continued to blow hot and cold. The player, though, has a decent tally of 9 goals and 8 assists in 32 outings to show for his efforts.
But, Die Roten will not exercise their option to sign him permanently and now Barcelona are looking for ways to offload the Brazilian international. Coutinho, however, has an admirer in Chelsea, who have been reported to be in talks with the player and could give him an escape from his woes at the Nou Camp.
The interest from Chelsea comes as a bit of a surprise, especially considering they have already signed Hakim Ziyech, who will arrive at Stamford Bridge this summer. Ziyech likes to operate in similar areas where Coutinho usually excels in.
Having said that, both Ziyech and Coutinho have the ability to play out wide equally as adeptly as they do in more central positions. And, Chelsea do need quality options when it comes to wingers, with Pedro expected to leave as a free agent at the end of the season, while Willian has been linked with a departure as well, having failed to reach an agreement over a new contract.
Willian and Pedro’s exits would leave Frank Lampard with Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi as the only natural wingers at his disposal. With Coutinho potentially being an option to play from the left flank, a position where he was proficient while at Liverpool, he comes off as a viable target for Chelsea.
To that end, the west Londoners have reportedly begun talks with Barcelona over a deal for the 27-year-old. The transfer fee, though, seems to be a sticking point, according to Sport, with Barcelona demanding €90 million for Coutinho to recover some money on their €160 million outlay. Chelsea, however, are unwilling to shell out the sum.
Having said that, Chelsea believe they have the upper hand in negotiations, with Coutinho eager to return to the Premier League, coupled with Barcelona’s urgency to fund a move for priority target Lautaro Martinez.
So, it will be interesting to see if Chelsea are able to negotiate a fee lower than €90 million for Coutinho, or if they are forced to meet Barcelona’s valuation of the Brazilian international.