Chelsea’s decision to pursue the transfer of Philippe Coutinho in a potential club-record deal has been met with fierce criticism from Gary Neville.
The report added that the Blues ‘have begun talks over a deal’ with Barcelona, although they ‘have no intention’ of spending lavish amounts.
However, the alleged £75m fee has drawn criticism from Neville, who thinks the timing could not be worse given senior Chelsea players are currently in talks with the board about a wage referral.
“It’s like a parallel universe,” he told Sky Sports. “[Blues captain] Cesar Azpilicueta has apparently been in talks with the Chelsea board over the past three weeks as they’re looking for a 10/15 per cent pay cut.
“For the Chelsea players to hear in the next breathe that the club are looking to buy Philippe Coutinho for £75m… it’s like, ‘what one is it?’
“If I was a player now I’d be looking at a wage deferral that potentially turns into a cut at a certain point in time.
“But if the club increase their budget or sign a player for £75m, you have to pay our money first.
“I’d say ‘you can’t go and sign a player for £75m and then say you can’t pay us fully’.”
Asked for his thoughts itself on the transfer and Neville had a seven-word critique of the Chelsea board for pushing through with it.
“It’s just illogical, it doesn’t make sense,” was his answer.
Redknapp criticises Coutinho swoop
Coutinho scored 54 goals in 201 appearances for the Reds over a five-year spell before securing a £142m switch to Barcelona in January 2018 – though Liverpool do look set to miss out on a hefty chunk of that fee should he secure a move to Stamford Bridge.
And Neville’s fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp has also expressed his concerns at the deal, especially when it comes at a time when the Blues have just started to finally give some of their homegrown talent the chance to shine.
“I don’t see this [Coutinho to Chelsea] as a goer, it’s an awful lot of money,” Redknapp told Sky Sports’ The Football Show. “Coutinho is a super-talented player but he doesn’t get enough goals.
“Chelsea have Mason Mount there and a lot of trust has been given to the young players who are coming through at Stamford Bridge. The way Chelsea have been going for the last year or so, I just don’t see them going to spend £79m on a player.
“Coutinho is talented, but why would you want to risk preventing someone like Mount, who is going to be a top-class player, having the opportunities himself?”
Meanwhile, the agent of Achraf Hakimi has provided an update on the future of the defender while also ranking him alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold as the best right back in world football.
The 21-year-old is coming towards the end of a two-year loan spell with Borussia Dortmund after being loaned out by parent club Real Madrid and has impressed with some eye-catching performances in the Bundesliga.
He has featured 65 times for the German club in total, scoring ten goals and assisting a further 17, but the form he has shown this season in particular has alerted many to his potential. Read more…