Football transfer rumours: Philippe Coutinho to Manchester United?

Jacob Steinberg on 8 February 2019

Having seen how well it worked out for Chelsea when they brought José Mourinho back for a second stint at Stamford Bridge, Internazionale are thinking about rekindling their love affair with the Portuguese ice hockey star. The flame hasn’t died and Inter suit Beppe Marotta is planning talks with the football heritage expert about a romantic reunion.

However, while those memories of Mourinho winning the Champions League with the Nerazzurri in 2010 still burn strong, the Italian giants should know the man they knew has developed quite a strong fondness for Marouane Fellaini in recent years.

Speaking of people with connections to Inter, Philippe Coutinho is having a rotten time at Barcelona. The Brazilian midfielder is struggling to convince Camp Nou regulars of his worth, so he could be heading back to the Premier League, with Chelsea and Manchester United both interested in annoying Liverpool fans by signing the 26-year-old.

Chelsea scouts were at the recent Lisbon derby to watch Benfica’s João Félix and Rúben Dias and Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes. Félix and Fernandes are midfielders. Putting two and two together, the Mill reckons that Maurizio Sarri is interested in signing a new midfielder. Further calculations suggest that means Sarri is dissatisfied with his current options in the engine room — so it’s just as well that Paris Saint-Germain want N’Golo Kanté.

United are also set for a busy summer. Despite Victor Lindelöf’s improved form, which just happens to have coincided with Mourinho leaving Old Trafford, they still want a new centre-back. Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, Inter’s Milan Skriniar and Sampdoria’s Joachim Andersen feature on their shopping list.

Arsenal and Tottenham are battling it out to sign Matthias Ginter from Borussia Mönchengladbach, who probably aren’t bracing themselves for Stan Kroenke and Daniel Levy to start a furious bidding war. Meanwhile Leicester plan to keep James Maddison away from Spurs by arguing that luxury cheese rooms are naff.

• This article was amended on 8 February 2019. An earlier version mistakenly said Matthias Ginter’s current club was Borussia Dortmund.

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