Chelsea leading race to sign €70m-rated Bundesliga playmaker

The Blaugrana want nearly £70m for playmaker Philippe Coutinho this summer, with Chelsea and Man United both potential suitors, according to reports. A move back to Premier League could be on the cards for Brazil international, with his £142m move to La Liga in 2018 failing to bear fruit.

Barcelona sent Philippe Bayern Munich on a season-long loan last summer, but given his inconsistent displays, the Bundesliga giants are not planning to exercise the £105m option to buy. The Catalan club will listen to offers in the region of £70-80m and are prepared to make a heavy loss on Coutinho.

The Spanish club aim to ship the 27-year-old attacker out to create space for their top priority signings of Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez and their former star, now at PSG, Neymar. Given the financial insecurity surrounding Covid pandemic, Barca won’t be able to make any mega-money deals happen without selling first.

Blues and Red Devils have both reportedly been keeping tabs on the Brazilian playmaker because of a summer swoop. However, Chelsea legend Frank Leboeuf warned boss Frank Lampard against the signing, saying: ‘Coutinho has been good with Liverpool, so far weak with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

‘I would have lots of question marks seeing him coming to Chelsea, to bring what? ‘We have teenagers, very talented, who are very promising. We have good midfield players with Kovacic and Jorginho, to organise the game. ‘I don’t know where his place would be. If I was the chairman, if I was the coach, I would be very hesitant to pick him up.’