Tottenham appear unlikely to sign Philippe Coutinho any time soon after a report in Spain claimed Jose Mourinho had taken umbrage with Barcelona over their ‘inflated’ asking price.
The Barcelona playmaker has struggled at the Nou Camp since his high-profile £142m move from Liverpool over two years ago.
A season on loan with Bayern Munich has failed to rejuvenate his fortunes, with the German club having confirmed they will not be purchasing him outright.
That decision has led Coutinho to set his sights towards the Premier League once more, where he previously enjoyed a successful spell with Liverpool.
A number of Premier League clubs have been linked with the Brazilian, with Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham all strongly linked – and Arsenal also emerging as major contenders to sign him with Mikel Arteta said to be a huge fan.
And those rumours have been further substantiated by his agent Kia Joorabchian, who has confirmed the 27-year-old Coutinho would be keen on a return to England, saying: “He has a desire to come back to the Premier League at some point.
“It may not happen this year, it may happen this year – we don’t know. We really have not discussed anything for now.”
According to reports from Mundo Deportivo, the Catalan giants are hoping to sell Coutinho having stuck a €100m asking price on his head, but could also facilitate a second successive loan move for the player too, with a one-off payment of €10m being bandied about.
However, the same publication claims Spurs boss Mourinho – known in the game as something of a ‘chequebook manager’ for his willingness to spend big money – is said to be irked by Barcelona’s asking price and has advised his club to steer clear of the potential deal.
As per the report, Mourinho is known to be keen on the player but is adamant his side will not be bullied into paying what he feels, in the paper’s words, is an ‘exorbitant’ cost to sign him.
In addition, it’s claimed Barcelona want any side to pick up the majority of Coutinho’s massive £250,000 a week salary – meaning any investment for Coutinho, even if just for one season, would cost quite the package.
It’s added that Mourinho feels paying some such a salary could cause something of a backlash with his squad and could see other players demanding parity, or a payrise, in relation to Coutinho.
The report states that while Coutinho would be “open to the idea” of joining Tottenham, Mourinho is wholly opposed to the idea of signing him for the current fees being talked about.
Bent backs Coutinho for Tottenham
One man who does think Coutinho would be worth breaking the bank for is Darren Bent, with the former Spurs striker claiming a move could also encourage other world stars to join Tottenham.
He told Football Insider: “You’re talking about a top, top player who knows the Premier League very, very well. It’s not like you’re taking a risk.
“Coutinho’s a top player, he’s a superstar signing that Spurs need and even if it’s on loan, that’s the sort of superstar that they need to maybe encourage other superstars to come there.
“For me, I’d go all out and pay that £8 million, pay that and try and get him. £8million for a top player like him for a year?
“You take that risk because at the end, you never know, at the end of the year it might work out really, really well. He could transform Spurs into an absolute powerhouse of a team.
“I wouldn’t even consider it – I’d just do it.”