Barcelona are reported to have contacted suitors Arsenal and Chelsea to inform them of the cut-price sums needed to bring Philippe Coutinho back to the Premier League this summer.
The Brazil international has struggled to make any kind of an impact since making his £142million move to the Nou Camp and is currently on loan at German giants Bayer Munich.
Coutinho’s form in the Bundesliga has sent a reminder of his undoubted talents but Barca’s asking price to complete a permanent move to Bavaria means that Bayern are out of the running for his signature – leaving a return to England the most likely destination.
At this stage it would appear that Chelsea are the frontrunners to land the 27-year-old, although there has also been significant interest from Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal and even Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton.
However, The Sun claims it is Arsenal and Chelsea who are the main contenders to sign the playmaker and that Barcelona officials have already informed them of the cut-price package they will accept if they are to take the Brazilian off their hands.
As per the report, Barca have told the Prem pair that they can land Coutinho for just £75m – close to half the amount they paid to sign him from Liverpool in January 2018. Failing that, it’s reported they would accept another season-long loan deal with a view to his permanent signing again; similar to the arrangement that Bayern struck in the previous summer.
Furthermore, while the Brazilian’s salary package may have previously been an issue – Coutinho earns an estimated £290,000 a week at the Nou Camp – the pair have been told they would only need to pay around half that amount.
That’s because, as per the report, that so desperate are Barcelona to get him off their books, that they will look to either subsidise his wages in the event of a loan deal, or pay him off a large portion of his contract – which runs until summer 2023 – were he to leave permanently; a golden handshake if you like.
The Brazilian enjoyed the best years of his career in the Premier League with Liverpool, and while a move back to Anfield looks highly unlikely, the player is willing to join one of their rivals in a bid to resurrect his career that has fallen badly off the rails.
However, former Liverpool star Phil Thompson has revealed why he thinks Jurgen Klopp should seriously consider bringing the attacking midfielder back to Anfield, with Coutinho notching nine goals and adding eight assists for Bayern this term.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Thompson said: “They are probably looking at that creative midfield player. Would you take Coutinho back? I would, in a heartbeat. I think he’s a creative genius.
“You look back at his Liverpool career and he was absolutely terrific. He’s not too old and I still think he could come back.
“It probably won’t happen but it’s that creative player just off the front three that would probably just tip the balance.”