Chelsea and Arsenal face major blow in chase for Philippe Coutinho
Premier League duo Chelsea and Arsenal have been dealt a major transfer blow with FC Barcelona expecting Philippe Coutinho to stay at Camp Nou beyond the summer. The London duo are both interested in the former Liverpool attacking midfielder but it seems that FC Barcelona are willing to offer the Brazilian another chance to impress at the club.
Chelsea stole the march by contacting Coutinho's agent Kia Joorabchian and are said to remain in pole position should Barcelona look to offload the former Liverpool number ten. Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United are also said to be monitoring the 27-year old's situation closely.
FC Barcelona manager Quique Setien poured cold water on the speculation by insisting he wants to keep hold of Coutinho and would only sell him for a premium price.
Speaking to RAC1, the Spaniard said: "I think Coutinho is a great player, I really like him."
"He is still a Barcelona player. You have to pay the clause or pay a sum to Barca."
"I think he can be here at the beginning of next season. I have to talk to him to ask him."
FC Barcelona signed the Brazilian international from Liverpool in January 2018 for a mammoth fee of £145 million. Just 18 months later, and with 21 goals in 76 appearances, he was shipped out to Bayern Munich on loan.
Coutinho has nine goals and eight assists in 32 games for Bayern this season but the Bavarian giants are not willing to exercise their £105 million option to buy him at the end of his temporary spell.
FC Barcelona are keen to recoup as much of Coutinho’s £145m transfer fee as possible but they reckon that the player's value has diminished a lot. With the financial situation of clubs across Europe taking a hit due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus, Barcelona know that they would have to face a substantial loss in order to offload Coutinho.
The Catalan club, meanwhile, has Manchester City's Joao Cancelo on their radar and therefore a straight swap with Nelson Semedo could be on the cards.
They are also keen on Internazionale striker Lautaro Martinez and a reunion with Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar.
Featured Image credits - Marca