Football transfer rumours: Barcelona open to offers for Philippe Coutinho?

John Brewin on 9 May 2019

Divock Origi’s reward for the two goals that helped slay Barcelona is set to be a spanking new two-year Liverpool contract. Not bad for someone who was fighting against relegation last season while on loan at Wolfsburg.

Mauricio Pochettino’s reward for the miracle of Amsterdam is for Tottenham to be actually linked with buying new players. Freiburg defender Robin Koch is seen as a long-term replacement for Toby Alderweireld, whose future remains uncertain.

The Champions League madness of this week has been shifting sands all over the place. Philippe Coutinho will be made available to any takers by Barcelona as leading scapegoat for that embarrassment at Anfield, and for a much reduced price than the £142m deal he cost Barça last January. Elsewhere in Barcelona scapegoat news, their coach, Ernesto Valverde, will pay the price of waltzing to two titles while being on the end of improbable Champions League comebacks by Roma and Liverpool in consecutive years. Another coach for the off is Massimiliano Allegri, set to leave Juventus this summer with Antonio Conte waiting in the wings for an emotional return to the Old Lady.

Matthijs de Ligt cried salt tears on Wednesday as Ajax felt the full force of Lucas Moura, and he can compare notes with Lionel Messi on semi-final sobbing when he heads to Barcelona this summer. De Ligt’s grief is not so deep that he would consider becoming a Manchester United player. He has turned down the chance to be guided by Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s wheel. Another turning his nose up at Ole is Ander Herrera, whose free-transfer move to Paris Saint-Germain is set to be confirmed soon.

And with Paul Pogba and David de Gea to be sold, Solskjær and Ed Woodward are set for a £330m trolley dash over the summer. There will also be an attempt to get Alexis Sánchez off the wage bill, with Internazionale a potential destination, careful and persuasive negotiations permitting. As for Romelu Lukaku, he and Solskjær are set for showdown talks on the striker’s future. Anthony Martial, though, is staying on.

Elsewhere, Chelsea’s transfer ban is causing ructions, and it is being speculated in Spain that Eden Hazard’s long-trailed move to Real Madrid has been scuppered by Fifa’s litigators. Whatever happens there, Gareth Bale is surplus to requirements, even if he keeps saying he wants to stay and fight for his place, especially if Zinedine Zidane carries out his plan of making the Welshman train with the kids.

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Callum Hudson-Odoi, for whom any potential move is delayed by his snapped achilles tendon, is another Chelsea player whose future remains up in the air. Do the Blues cash in this summer, or try and tie the teenager to another deal? He will be available on a free from next summer.

Unai Emery has seen quite enough of Mesut Özil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Arsenal. With both indolent playmakers having passed their 30th birthdays, Emery wants younger, more vital blood in his team. And one of those players is André Gomes, who Everton want to sign on a permanent basis, having enjoyed having him on loan from Barcelona.

Talking of which, Aston Villa have joined the race to sign ‘the new Mesut Özil’, Mainz 05’s Erkan Eyibil, who is still just 17.

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