Everton certain to say no in controversial move for Barcelona playmaker

Date published: Sunday 8th August 2021 3:40 - Rob McCarthy

Martin Braithwaite celebrating with Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, Barcelona, November 2020

As Barcelona’s fire-sale continues, Everton have reportedly been offered the chance to sign a playmaker in what is likely to deemed as a highly controversial move.

The Catalan club are currently reeling after losses of €437m for last season, which meant they were unable to strike a deal for club legend Lionel Messi to stay at the Nou Camp. The Argentina star is now a free agent and is expected to complete a move to French giants PSG.

Other top stars are expected to follow Messi in leaving, with former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho among them.

The Liverpool Echo states that while Coutinho is not a firm target for Rafa Benitez, the move hasn’t been completely ruled out.

The new Toffees boss is keen on adding more quality to his midfield. However, the Echo states that he is currently looking at other targets.

Coutinho’s wage demands make a move to Goodison very difficult and would mean trying to free up some room.

One player who could be offloaded is former Real Madrid attacker James Rodriguez.

Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez Barcelona August 2019

The Colombian is said to earn over £200,000-a-week and has been told he can leave if the right offer comes in.

Benitez gave Coutinho his debut at Inter Milan, as a teenager. But it appears that a reunion with the Brazilian looks unlikely.


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Everton knocked back in winger chase 

Meanwhile, both Arsenal and Everton have been knocked back in their attempts to land a Serie A winger tipped to leave this summer, per multiple reports.

Ex-Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has taken charge of Lazio after Simone Inzaghi left for Inter Milan. Sarri is facing an uphill struggle to put Lazio back among the top four after finishing 10 points adrift last year, and their task could be made all the more difficult if Joaquin Correa leaves.

The Argentine winger is understood to be seeking a fresh challenge this summer. North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham were touted as potential suitors, with interest from Everton emerging more recently.

Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa celebrating after a Lazio goal in 2021

Ciro Immobile celebrating with Lazio team-mate Joaquin Correa after scoring a Serie A goal in May 2021

Correa has operated at almost one goal every three matches in Serie A over the last two seasons. And at 26, his best years could yet lay ahead.

Sport Witness (citing Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport) revealed Arsenal had allegedly made their first move to the tune of €20m.

Lazio set Correa price

That figure was deemed ‘inadequate’ by Lazio who are said to be wanting a fee of between €30m-€40m.

Bidding a figure far below the club’s valuation would suggest the Gunners did not deem Correa to be a priority target. Indeed, the article claims they were simply testing the waters if a deal could be made ‘on the cheap’.

With Arsenal’s interest fleeting at best, the door is now ajar for Everton to stride through.

A second Sport Witness report (citing Italian publication Il Messaggero) reveals they too have reportedly offered €20m.

While that has predictably not yielded a breakthrough, the article hints it could be a starting point in negotiations. They conclude ‘there is room to negotiate‘ going forward.


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