Could Lionel Messi swap Barcelona for Inter?

Messi has been linked to Inter since ex-president Massimo Moratti said the six-time Ballon d'Or winner joining the Serie A club was not a "forbidden dream".

The 32-year-old's future at Camp Nou has made headlines throughout the 2019-20 season.

 

TOP STORY – INTER WANT MESSI

Inter are seriously working on trying to sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to TNT Sports.

Former Inter president Massimo Moratti said the Nerazzurri luring Messi – contracted until 2021 – to San Siro was not impossible and speculation has intensified since those comments.

TNT Sports says Inter are ready to push through negotiations for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, while boyhood club Newell's Old Boys have also made an offer.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS Diario claims Manchester United and Juventus are both chasing Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez. Napoli and Everton have also been linked to the Colombia international.

Philippe Coutinho is close to returning to the Premier League. Sport reports the former Liverpool star is nearing a loan switch to Chelsea from Barcelona. The Brazilian has spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.

Milan are interested in signing in-demand Brescia star Sandro Tonali, according to Calciomercato. The Italian has been linked to the likes of Juve, Inter and United.

- Juve star Paulo Dybala is set to sign a new contract with the Serie A champions, says Calciomercato. Meanwhile, the same outlet reports that Juve are interested in Roma midfielder Bryan Cristante.

- Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is chasing Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, says AS Diario. The Frenchman wants to sign the 17-year-old if Madrid are unable to lure Paul Pogba from United.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are among the clubs battling for Achraf Hakimi. The Moroccan full-back has spent the past two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Madrid. Juve, Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly interested.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a stunning return to Real Madrid, but it seems that is just about impossible.

The Juventus star only left the Santiago Bernabeu in 2018, yet recent reports linked him with a Madrid return.

However, it appears that is unlikely.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID RETURN FOR RONALDO RULED OUT

Real Madrid are not thinking about bringing Ronaldo back, according to both Marca and Sport.

It has been reported that Juve would consider selling Ronaldo for €60million, which is €40m less than what they paid in July 2018.

Ronaldo had scored 25 goals in 32 games this season before it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

- Neymar continues to be linked with a return to Barcelona. Sport reports Paris Saint-Germain would be willing to accept payment in instalments from Barcelona, something that proved to be an issue last close season.

- Paul Pogba looks set to leave Manchester United for either Juventus or Real Madrid. AS reports the France midfielder will prioritise an offer from the LaLiga giants.

- On loan at PSG from Inter, Mauro Icardi's future is uncertain. Sport reports PSG have decided they will use their purchase option of €70m to land the forward permanently.

- It seems Barcelona know what they want for Philippe Coutinho. The LaLiga giants have set their price for the attacker, who is on loan at Bayern Munich, at €90m, according to Sport.

- David Silva will leave Manchester City at the end of the season and where he ends up remains to be seen. CalcioMercato reports AC Milan met the playmaker's agents over a possible move.

- It is shaping as a busy close season at Barcelona. Sport reports PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa, out of contract at campaign's end, wants a move to Barcelona. Meanwhile, AS reports Barca are also eyeing Real Madrid's 19-year-old midfielder Cesar Gelabert.

Philippe Coutinho's transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona was "difficult" but "fair" for the player, says Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.

Brazil midfielder Coutinho swapped Anfield for Camp Nou in January 2018 in a deal reportedly worth over £100million after protracted negotiations.

Klopp explained how Liverpool had initially held firm against a sale due to an injury to Adam Lallana, but relented at a time when the move made sense for all parties.

"I really respected Phil's switch from the first second," he told the Pure Football Podcast.

"Not that I do that all the time but it felt 'oh wow that could be difficult'.

"So it's not about yes we signed a new contract so many weeks before that but it was really clear he would not have asked me for any other club but for this club, there was no chance.

"Then we had to be hard in the summer because we had no other solution. We lost Adam Lallana in that time as well, we would have lost two players.

"That's not possible, you cannot solve that on the transfer market.

"He was open to that [staying] and that was really cool. Then you have to be fair in the window and say we can do it, we don't like it but we can do it."

Coutinho struggled to adjust at Barca and was shipped out on loan to Bayern Munich for the 2019-2020 season, which is suspended as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bayern are not thought to be keen on making the move permanent, but Barca appear certain to sanction a sale elsewhere if they can recoup a large sum of the outlay they stumped up to Liverpool.

The Reds had been linked with a move themselves, although reports say they will not be in the market for their former midfielder, and Klopp wants the best for Coutinho wherever he ends up.

"Phil was our boy for a long time," he added. "We respect him a lot and wish him all the best.

"That's how football should be. That's the most important thing the club showed in that moment."

Europe's major leagues have been shut down due to coronavirus, but Cristiano Ronaldo is still making headlines.

Ronaldo was in the midst of his second season with Juventus before the 2019-20 campaign was postponed last month.

But there are ongoing doubts over Ronaldo's future in Turin.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO LINKED TO MADRID RETURN

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo misses Real Madrid and a reunion with his former club is not just a suggestion, according to Calciomercato.

Ronaldo is reportedly unhappy at Serie A champions Juve amid links to Paris Saint-Germain and another former team, Manchester United.

However, Calciomercato's report claims Ronaldo has eyes on Madrid but it will take a significant sum to prise the 35-year-old from Juve.

 

ROUND-UP

Barcelona have set their asking price for out-of-favour attacker Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at Bayern Munich. The LaLiga champions want at least €80million (£70m) for the Brazilian. The likes of Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Tottenham have been linked.

- Diario AS says Borussia Dortmund are concerned about mounting speculation surrounding Madrid's interest in Erling Haaland. The Norwegian sensation only joined Dortmund in January.

Madrid are chasing Lille's midfield star Boubakary Soumare, according to Le10Sport. United and Liverpool have also been linked to the 21-year-old.

Juve are looking to complete a deal for Mauro Icardi, says Calciomercato. Icardi is on loan at PSG from Inter but the Argentina international wants to return to Italy.

Manchester City face an uphill battle trying to sign Raphael Varane. Defensa Central says Madrid are ready to turn down any bids for the Frenchman. According to Tuttosport, City have set their sights on three Inter players – Lautaro Martinez, Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni. Martinez has been tipped to join Barca.

- Diario AS claims Barca are keeping tabs on Juve midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur. It comes as Marca says Atletico Madrid are leading the race to sign Ivan Rakitic from Barca.

Milan are eyeing three candidates should star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma leave the club, reports Calciomercato. Donnarumma has been linked to Chelsea, Madrid and PSG and Napoli's Alex Meret, Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso and Sporting CP's Luis Maximiano are being considered.

Neymar, Lautaro Martinez or both? Barcelona may have a decision to make this close season.

Neymar has been linked with a return to Camp Nou, while the LaLiga giants are also reportedly interested in Inter star Martinez.

Barcelona could be forced to choose between the two in the next transfer window.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR, MARTINEZ OR BOTH? BARCELONA'S BIG DECISION

Barcelona want both Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and Inter's Martinez but know it will be difficult to land the duo, according to Sport.

It reports landing Martinez is shaping to be easier as Inter are willing to accept players as part of a deal.

Martinez has scored 16 goals in 31 games for Inter this season, while Neymar has netted 18 times in 22 appearances for PSG.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United could be turning to an old target. ESPN reports the Premier League club are prepared to make a bid for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt if the Serie A giants are open to a sale this close season.

- Harry Kane's future at Tottenham seemingly remains unclear. But The Daily Mail says Spurs are confident of keeping the forward, who said on Monday he would not stay at the club just "for the sake of it".

- It looks like Jadon Sancho to Liverpool will not be happening. The Mirror claims the Premier League leaders are not targeting the Borussia Dortmund star, leaving United and Chelsea as the English clubs still in the chase.

- Where will Philippe Coutinho end up next season? Sport reports Leicester City are interested in a loan deal for the playmaker, who is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona. Staying at Camp Nou and Sport says Barcelona are considering a move for Layvin Kurzawa, who is out of contract at PSG at season's end, as a back-up to Jordi Alba.

- Edinson Cavani is also out of contract at the end of the season at PSG, but CalcioMercato reports the Uruguayan striker will not be joining Atletico Madrid, the club he has been linked to.

- With Alexis Sanchez set to return to Manchester United from his loan spell at Inter, The Sun reports the club will be forced to pay the attacker a £1.1million loyalty payment.

Antoine Griezmann has suggested he sees his long-term future at Barcelona after saying he wants to claim the number seven shirt.

The France star has endured a difficult first season at Camp Nou since joining for €120million from Atletico Madrid last year, scoring only eight times in 26 LaLiga appearances.

Eric Olhats, the scout who helped to discover Griezmann as a youngster, claimed to Mundo Deportivo last week that the player "isn't enjoying it" at Barca and is not being helped by the way the team plays.

With Barca expected to try to sign Lautaro Martinez from Inter and once more plot a return for Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain in the next transfer window, it has been rumoured Griezmann could be sold to provide funds.

However, Griezmann appears to be focused on playing for Barca for at least another season once Spanish football resumes from suspension during the coronavirus pandemic.

Indeed, the 29-year-old seems to have his heart set on claiming the shirt number presently held by Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at Bayern Munich and is expected to be sold by Barca this year.

While speaking to fans during an eSports contest, Griezmann admitted "I would like to get back the number seven" that he wore while playing for Atletico.

For the time being, Griezmann is simply waiting to learn when he will be able to return to Barca training with his team-mates, with Spain still in a strict lockdown as confirmed coronavirus cases have passed 80,000.

"Quarantine is going okay, but you can't do anything," he said.

"I miss football enormously. I have no idea when the competition will be back; I don't know when I will go back to training."

Another day, another Lautaro Martinez rumour.

Inter star Martinez continues to dominate headlines as Barcelona reportedly circle.

Barca appear to be closing in on the Argentina international forward.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA MOVE CLOSER TO MARTINEZ

Barcelona have reached an agreement in principle with Inter forward Lautaro Martinez, according to Tuttosport.

Martinez is a player in demand amid links to Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City.

But Barca are desperate to sign Martinez and the report claims the LaLiga champions have reached a deal on the contract and must now negotiate with Inter.

 

ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports United are "optimistic" they will have Paul Pogba at their disposal in 2020-21 as no club can afford him. The disgruntled star has been linked to former team Juventus and Madrid.

- Serie A champions Juve are keen on replacing forward Gonzalo Higuain with City's Gabriel Jesus, says Calciomcercato.

Barca are struggling to offload Brazilian attacker Philippe Coutinho, according to Marca. Coutinho, on loan at Bayern Munich, has been linked to Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Tottenham. However, Barca have been unable to find a team willing to spend at least €80million (£73m). Another loan spell is being considered.

- Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland has become Madrid's primary transfer target, ahead of the likes of Martinez and RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner, claims Marca. Madrid continue to eye Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe as his contract is due to expire in 2021, while team-mate Neymar is reportedly another option.

Napoli will demand at least €40m for striker Arkadiusz Milik, says Calciomercato. It comes as Milan and Inter reportedly circle the Poland international, who is no closer to signing a new deal in Naples.

- Corriere dello Sport reports Zlatan Ibrahimovic is considering retirement but Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis wants the 38-year-old striker to sign a new deal.

- Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali is at the top of Juve's wish list, Tuttosport claims. Tonali is also wanted by Inter, United, City and PSG. Alternatives for Juve are Roma pair Nicolo Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini, as well as Fiorentina duo Federico Chiesa and Gaetano Castrovilli.

Is Cristiano Ronaldo's time at Juventus coming to an end?

Ronaldo swapped LaLiga giants Real Madrid for Serie A champions Juventus in 2018.

But the 35-year-old superstar reportedly wants out of Turin.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO EYES JUVE EXIT

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Juventus as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United circle, according to Diario GOL.

The report claims Ronaldo has an offer from Ligue 1 champions PSG, who want to partner the five-time Ballon d'Or winner with Kylian Mbappe.

Ronaldo has also received a proposal from former club United and the 35-year-old wants to restore the glory days at Old Trafford, though it depends on Champions League qualification.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Star says Barcelona have made a bid for Inter forward Lautaro Martinez as their interest in Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has cooled. Aubameyang has been linked to Barca, PSG and United.

Chelsea have been offered the chance to sign out-of-favour Barca attacker Philippe Coutinho, reports The Mirror. Barca are looking to offload the Brazilian, who is on loan at Bayern Munich. United, Arsenal and Tottenham have also been mentioned as possible destinations.

- El Pais says Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors are keen on signing PSG forward Edinson Cavani, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Declan Rice to return to Stamford Bridge? Sky Sports says Chelsea are hoping to re-sign the West Ham midfielder, who spent most of his youth career with the Blues.

Gianluigi Donnarumma's future at Milan is uncertain. Calciomercato claims a farewell cannot be ruled out amid contract negotiations. Real Madrid, PSG and Everton are among the reported suitors for the Italy international goalkeeper.

- According to Calciomercato, Napoli are preparing for life without star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who continues to be linked with the likes of United, Madrid and Bayern. Freiburg's Robin Koch has emerged as an option for Napoli.

Inter and Juve are interested in former Milan midfielder and current Sassuolo star Manuel Locatelli, reports Calciomercato.

Barcelona know what they want to do with Philippe Coutinho should the attacker return to the club from Bayern Munich.

Coutinho is on a season-long loan at the Bundesliga club, who have an option to buy the Brazil international at the end of the campaign.

But Barca reportedly already have plans in place if the 27-year-old comes back to Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLAN TO USE COUTINHO AS MAKEWEIGHT IF HE RETURNS

Barcelona will use Coutinho as a makeweight in any of the huge deals they are planning in the close season, according to Sport.

The LaLiga giants are reportedly again targeting Neymar, who was linked with a return but ended up staying at Paris Saint-Germain last year.

PSG and Liverpool are rumoured to be interested in Coutinho, although Bayern have a €120million option to buy the playmaker.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus' interest in Mauro Icardi is ongoing. CalcioMercato reports Juve still want the forward, who is on loan at PSG from Inter, with the Ligue 1 club holding a €70m purchase option. Goal reports Juventus are also monitoring Santos teenager Kaio Jorge, who has a €50m release clause.

- Linked with a move to Bayern Munich, Leroy Sane may yet remain at Manchester City. The Telegraph reports the attacker, who has been sidelined with a serious knee injury, will consider staying at the Premier League club beyond this season.

- Hirving Lozano's Napoli stay may be short-lived. Corriere dello Sport reports Atletico Madrid have their sights set on the Mexico international, who is out of favour under Gennaro Gattuso in his first season at the Serie A club.

- Having dealt with defensive problems this season, Manchester City seemingly have a solution in mind. CalcioMercato reports the Premier League giants are ready to again make a move for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, a player they have been linked to previously.

- Already up to 15 goals this season, Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin appears set to be rewarded for his good form. The Times report the 22-year-old – apparently a target for Manchester United previously – is ready to sign a deal until 2025 with the Premier League club.

- Arsenal have started talks over a move for Feyenoord's 19-year-old playmaker Orkun Kokcu for £23m (€26.5m), according to the Daily Mail.

FIFA 20 players building their Ultimate Team squads around Spaniards will be intrigued by the latest Team of the Week, with four selected in a starting XI that also includes Philippe Coutinho.

Dani Carvajal impressed in El Clasico at the weekend, with the Real Madrid right-back slotting into a defence in front of Crystal Palace's Spanish goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

Marcos Alonso is in the team after returning to form with Chelsea, the full-back scoring both goals as the Blues drew with Bournemouth.

The other Spaniard in the starting line-up is Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez, while Ismaila Sarr takes a place on the bench after he stole the show in Watford's shock 3-0 win over Liverpool, whose 44-match unbeaten run in the Premier League ended abruptly at Vicarage Road.

Below, we have the entire squad.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace) – 82

RB: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid) – 87

CB: Kostas Manolas (Roma) – 86

LB: Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 84

RM: Calvin Stengs (AZ) – 84

CM: Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid) – 87

LWB: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) – 86

LW: Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich) – 89

LM: Fabian Orellana (Eibar) – 84

ST: Duvan Zapata (Atalanta) – 86

ST: Dario Benedetto (Marseille) – 84

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Predrag Rajkovic (Reims) – 79

LB: Marcal (Lyon) – 81

RM: Ismaila Sarr (Watford) – 82

CM: Teji Savanier (Montpellier) – 82

CF: Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres) – 83

ST: Nikola Kalinic (Roma) – 82

ST: Dieumerci Mbokani (Antwerp) – 82

RESERVES

RB: Matias Rodriguez (Deportes Nunoa) – 78

LM: Danny Blum (Bochum) – 78

ST: Klauss (LASK) – 77

GK: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs) – 75

LF: Max Burgess (Western United) – 73

Bayern Munich will show respect to Chelsea but intend to take a bold approach at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie, says Hansi Flick.

The Bundesliga champions certainly were aggressive in their previous trip to London in the competition, thrashing Tottenham 7-2 last October in the group stage.

While their opponents qualified for the knockout rounds with a 100 per cent record, Chelsea progressed despite just winning one of their three home games, giving Bayern further cause for optimism ahead of Tuesday's fixture in the English capital.

However, Flick has been impressed by the Blues this season, believing they are punching above their weight in the Premier League under Frank Lampard. 

"My team knows what to expect and we want to be brave, confident and attack," Bayern's head coach told the media. "I'm really full of confidence we can put in a good performance.

"We've analysed their strengths and weaknesses, the chances we see where we can decide the game for us.

"I think they play very well, and they have built a new team. They're very good, fourth in the Premier League and several teams are behind them that you thought would have been ahead of them.

"We're going to show respect, but we will not be full of fear."

On opposite number Lampard, Flick added: "He's doing a really good job. He's been successful in the Premier League by getting to fourth. They look like they will qualify for the Champions League. A great job.

Flick – who celebrated his 55th birthday on Monday – confirmed Leon Goretzka should be available after training with the squad prior to their flight from Germany.

Philippe Coutinho will also hope to feature after starting Friday's 3-2 league win over Paderborn, with the subject of the Brazilian's form once again raised during Bayern's pre-match press conference.

Asked about Coutinho's lack of consistency since joining the club, Flick said: "I'm always positive when I look at how he plays in training. He's football mad.

"Sometimes he is putting himself under too much pressure. He always tries to give his own mark on the game, so every decision he makes is generally right, but we will always support him.

"I think a lot of him as a player and a human being."

Philippe Coutinho is not surprised to see former club Liverpool dominate the Premier League but insists he does not "look back" despite enduring a difficult time since leaving Anfield.

Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona in January 2018 in a move potentially worth €160million (£142m), but, after initially impressing at Camp Nou, he failed to convince in his first full LaLiga season and was allowed to leave on loan for Bayern Munich, who also have a purchase option.

He has been similarly underwhelming in the Bundesliga, however, making just 12 league starts out of a possible 21.

Bayern have supposedly already decided they will not trigger their buy option, which is reportedly set at €120m.

While Coutinho has struggled after leaving Liverpool, the Reds have gone from strength to strength and look destined to add Premier League success to last season's Champions League crown – but the Brazilian insists he has only happy thoughts for his former club.

"Liverpool is flying, and it doesn't surprise me," Coutinho told Sports Illustrated. "We've seen it already last year when they won the Champions League, but I'm also not surprised because of their fantastic squad and manager.

"I am so happy for them, because I have so many friends there, former team-mates, so I'm just so happy for them. But that's it. I don't look back.

"I took another path, and now I am on another journey, much like everyone else. I'm focused entirely – just like them – on reaching my dreams.

"I'm happy with what I did in the past, and now I can only look forward."

Despite Coutinho's occasional issues at Bayern, Hansi Flick – who is in charge at least until the end of the season – recently offered words of encouragement for him, and the Brazil international has been impressed by the former assistant of Niko Kovac.

"He [Flick] is working so hard, and thanks to him the team is playing well and that's what's most important," he added.

"It can't be easy to manage a team like Bayern Munich, and I think he came in and has been doing a great job."

Following Sunday's 0-0 draw at home to RB Leipzig, Bayern remain one point clear of Julian Nagelsmann's side at the Bundesliga summit.

Juventus are reportedly lining up an incredible move for Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola has been in charge of City since 2016 and is contracted to remain at the helm of the Premier League champions until the end of next season.

However, Juve seemingly have other ideas.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS PLAN TO MAKE MOVE FOR GUARDIOLA

Juventus will give Guardiola whatever it takes to join them ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, according to The Sun.

The Serie A giants were linked with a stunning move for the Spaniard last year, but did not get their man.

Guardiola apparently intends to honour his contract at City, but Juve are prepared to give him whatever he wants.

ROUND-UP

- Philippe Coutinho has no plans to return to Barcelona and wants to make his move to Bayern Munich permanent, according to Catalunya Radio. The Bundesliga club hold an option to buy the attacker, but are reportedly yet to make a decision over whether they will make the move permanent.

- Barcelona are not yet giving up on signing Willian Jose from Real Sociedad. Marca reports the LaLiga giants are still considering the attacker amid a negotiable price despite Willian Jose's buyout clause being set at €70million.

- Jose Mourinho is planning for next season at Tottenham. The Daily Express reports the Spurs head coach is looking to spend £120m on defenders ahead of 2020-21, with Benfica's Ruben Dias and Bournemouth's Nathan Ake leading the list of targets.

- Liverpool tried to sign Villarreal attacker Samuel Chukwueze during January, according to France Football, which reports the European champions offered £29.6m (€35m) for the Nigeria international. Staying at Anfield and the Daily Express says Liverpool are set to offer 18-year-old full-back Neco Williams a new contract.

- Amid surprise reports Barcelona tried to bring Andres Iniesta back to Camp Nou in January, Marca says the LaLiga club's sporting management never considered a return to the club for the Vissel Kobe midfielder.

- Inter are set to decide in the next 48 hours whether to sign goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano after the 34-year-old completed medicals at the Serie A high-flyers, according to CalcioMercato. Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic suffered a finger injury last week.

Barcelona are prepared to take a loss on Philippe Coutinho, sparking apparent interest from the Premier League.

Coutinho is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, and the Bundesliga giants hold an option to buy the Brazil playmaker.

If Bayern opt against purchasing Coutinho, Barca may be willing to sell the 27-year-old and accept a loss.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA READY TO SELL COUTINHO FOR £77M AMID PREMIER LEAGUE INTEREST

Coutinho has been told he can leave Barcelona for £77million (€90.7m) at the end of the season, according to the Daily Express.

Barcelona paid Liverpool €120m (£105m) for Coutinho in 2018, but are preparing for change under Quique Setien.

The report says Coutinho has already attracted interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Bayern hold an option to buy Coutinho for a reported €120m.

 

ROUND-UP

- Could it be one Brazilian in and another out at Liverpool? The Sun reports Bayern Munich want Roberto Firmino to leave the Premier League giants and join the Bundesliga outfit at the end of the season.

- Staying at Anfield and the Daily Express reports Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz is Liverpool's top midfield target ahead of 2020-21.

- With James Maddison reportedly ready to extend his contract at Leicester City, Manchester United's interest in the attacker has cooled significantly, according to the Daily Express.

- Thiago Silva wants to stay in Paris. Paris United reports the Paris Saint-Germain captain could discuss a new contract with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi amid uncertainty over his future, with his deal expiring at the end of the season.

- Manchester United have angered Roma. The Daily Express says the Premier League club have increased their asking price for Chris Smalling from €14.1m (£12m) to €20m (£17m), with the defender having impressed during his loan spell with the Serie A outfit.

Neymar's return would hand Barcelona a huge boost, according to sporting director Eric Abidal.

The Brazil superstar left Camp Nou for PSG in a world-record €222million transfer in August 2017 but has been persistently linked with a move back to Barca.

Head coach Quique Setien said last week he would relish the chance to coach the Neymar and Abidal believes such a deal might be possible.

Asked for his opinion on Neymar coming back to the Catalan giants, Abidal told Mundo Deportivo: "I totally agree.

"Quique would be proud to be able to coach a player like Neymar and the others here who are of such a high level."

Barca have been left short in attack by serious injuries to Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, though Ansu Fati impressed with a double in a 2-1 victory over Levante last weekend.

On the effect signing Neymar could have on Fati, Abidal said: "That's why planning is not so easy. We may wish to have all the best players, but we can't make a mistake in the development of players.

"Since Ansu broke into the first team, he's contributed a lot. In the last [LaLiga] game, he showed his talent again. He's a player who can play in many positions and you have to take that into account.

"I think the player is 100 per cent with us, with the first team, and has the goal of staying here for many years."

Barca could help fund a move for Neymar by letting Philippe Coutinho make his loan at Bayern permanent, which the Bundesliga giants can achieve by activating a €120m option.

However, it has been reported this week that Barca would be willing to consider an offer at €80m.

"The information we have is that Bayern are very happy with Philippe and Philippe is also very happy there," said Abidal.

"It's true they have an option [to buy him], but we have to plan perfectly with those who are in house and on loan, and then we'll see."

Another player who could be heading for the exit at Camp Nou is Ivan Rakitic, who accused the club of a lack of respect and was disappointed by the treatment of former coach Ernesto Valverde.

"I don't know in what sense of respect he spoke about," said Abidal, who believes Rakitic remains content at Barca.

"For a player, the most important thing is to have minutes. He's gone through a difficult moment with Valverde, now we have changed coach. It's something for the coach, because I can't manage playing minutes for a player.

"We have respect because we haven't spoken with anybody, and neither has he, it seems. He said he planned to leave but in the end he decided to stay at Barca and if he did that, it's because there is a percentage of satisfaction."

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