Chelsea are reportedly closing in on an agreement to sign Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho in the summer transfer window.
The 27-year-old has struggled to live up to expectations after joining Barcelona back in 2018 and was sent on loan to Bayern Munich last summer in a bid to boost his confidence and get his career back on track.
Chelsea and Barcelona have started talks over a possible deal. And contact was first made after it became evident that Bayern will not take their £105m option to sign Coutinho.
Coutinho impressed in the Bundesliga – racking up eight goals and six assists before the coronavirus pandemic brought German football to a halt.
The midfielder’s future is up in the air but it appears the former Liverpool player is set for a return to the Premier League, with Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea all mooted as intersted suitors.
According to Sport, the Blues have provided the most realistic escape route and the Brazilian playmaker is now very close to completing a move to Chelsea.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard sees Coutinho as the type of player who can take the club back to the top of the league alongside Liverpool and Manchester City.
The report claims Barca are ready to allow Coutinho leave for £79m despite spending £140m on the Brazil international only two years ago.
Chelsea are confident they can land the player for a lower fee considering the club’s urgency to raise funds for Inter’s Lautaro Martinez.
However, Quique Setien insists Coutinho remains a ‘great’ asset for the Catalans but has not ruled out selling him if the right offer is made.
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‘I think Coutinho is a great player, I really like him,’ the Barcelona head coach said last week.
‘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’.