Philippe Coutinho

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Transfer news: Coutinho to Chelsea, De Ligt to Man United

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The latest transfer news continues across the Premier League and here’s a look at some of the juiciest rumors.

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First up, Philippe Coutinho has been linked with a move back to England with Chelsea his latest potential destination as they are said to be ‘in negotiations’ with Barcelona about signing him on a permanent deal.

The Brazilian playmaker is still a Barcelona player but he’s spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.

According to The Sun newspaper the 27-year-old midfielder will leave Bayern at the end of this season with the Bavarian giants unwilling to trigger his $130 million release clause.

Arsenal, Tottenham and Man United are all said to be in the running to sign Coutinho but it is Chelsea who have taken the first step to sign the Brazilian who was sensational at Liverpool before his move to Barcelona 18 months ago. Coutinho never settled properly at the Nou Camp as he was shipped out on loan to Bayern and it is highly unlikely Barca will get even half of the $175 million they paid to Liverpool for him in January 2018.

Per the report, Coutinho would be available for between $65-80 million and that could be worth a punt for several Premier League clubs given his past form for Liverpool in England’s top-flight. His ability to drop his shoulder, dictate the tempo of a game and deliver stunning goals and deliveries from long-range is his trademark.

With Willian and Pedro both likely to leave Chelsea this summer, Frank Lampard will need some attacking reinforcements but he already has Hakim Ziyech arriving from Ajax, plus Christian Pulisic, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi battling for spots in the attacking midfield positions. In terms of the other clubs interested in Coutinho, it would seem like Tottenham would be the best fit as they recently lost playmaker Christian Eriksen and both Man United and Arsenal seem set with their current attacking talents.

Coutinho’s quality means he would be a good buy for any Premier League club with his former manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, linked with a shock move to bring him to Leicester City. Coutinho may not fit in at Barcelona but he is still loved by many in the Premier League, even after his acrimonious departure from Liverpool.


Another player who sealed a big move but has failed to settle is Matthijs de Ligt.

The Daily Express say that Man United have made De Ligt one of their top targets for this summer as the 20-year-old Dutch center back has failed to impress after his mega transfer from Ajax to Juventus last summer.

De Ligt looked likely to head to Man United for most of last summer but instead joined Juve for $100 million but under Maurizio Sarri he’s struggled to be a regular and both parties are reportedly ready to move on when the next transfer window arrives.

A towering presence at the heart of Ajax’s defense in their run to the Champions League semifinals in 2018-19, plus a rising star on the international stage with the Netherlands, De Ligt’s game would be suited well to the Premier League.

Do Man United need another center back? Right now Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have formed a pretty solid partnership in central defense, flanked by Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones back up center back options.

That said, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has used a 3-4-3 system on many occasions this season, especially against the Premier League big boys away from home, and that could mean there’s space for De Ligt, Maguire and Lindelof in the same lineup.

There’s no doubt Juve will be looking to recoup the vast majority of the $100 million they paid for De Ligt last summer but that’s unlikely. One potential deal suggested, per the report, is that Paul Pogba could head back to Juventus with De Ligt part of the deal.

Man United’s attack is set with Bruno Fernandes pulling the strings and the duo of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford delivering. Shoring up midfield and defense should remain Solskjaer’s top priority and if De Ligt can regain the amazing form from his Ajax days, he would have a huge impact.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Montiel to Palace or West Ham, Coutinho to depart Barcelona

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River Plate is one of many clubs that could use this coming transfer window to earn a payday after taking losses in the coronavirus shutdown, and that could come at the benefit of one Premier League club.

West Ham is apparently one of a few teams after Argentine international Gonzalo Montiel who could fetch River Plate somewhere in the vicinity of $24 million. The right-back is a River Plate youth product who established himself as a regular for the club at just 20 years old and has spent the last three seasons earning significant minutes. Now 23, Montiel is a strong passer who can create for teammates with long-range deliveries.

Argentine publication Ole mentions that Spanish side Valencia has shown interest of late, but also states that West Ham made contact in January but was turned down by River Plate and the Hammers could be suitors again once the next window arrives. Montiel was also linked with Crystal Palace by Goal back in late March, while Argentine newspaper El Intransigente linked the player with Southampton. Palace and Saints both make sense as they are both looking to replace big-name departures of late, with Crystal Palace still yet to truly replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka while Southampton has not seen much from those brought in to take over for Cedric Soares.

Barcelona is reportedly ready to lower its asking price on Philippe Coutinho, with a bid of $86 million potentially workable for the Catalan club, according to a report by the Evening Standard.

Coutinho was extremely poor in his season-and-a-half at Barcelona, and while the Brazilian playmaker had upped his game on loan at Bayern Munich before the coronavirus shutdown, the purchase price on his loan deal is a whopping $130 million, which Bayern Munich is not willing to pay.

Barcelona is desperately in need of funds to support its summer business, with Lautaro Martinez and Neymar both heavily linked with the La Liga giants. It’s highly unlikely that both will be possible to acquire given both the team’s business of late and the coronavirus shutdown causing financial strain on clubs all over the world, and a significant sale may even be needed to get one of them over the line. Coutinho provides such a possibility, but with Barcelona not exactly in a position of strength given Coutinho’s lack of recent star power and the club’s need to sell, dropping the asking price is a highly likely eventuality.

The Evening Standard report mentions that Barcelona believes the Premier League is the “most likely possibility” for a Coutinho suitor given the league’s memories of his incredible spell at Liverpool just a few years ago.

Speaking of the Premier League, Manchester United was reportedly close to securing a marquee striker last summer before eventually sticking with Marcus Rashford up front. Speaking to Italian print publication Tuttosport on Wednesday, Romelu Lukaku’s agent Federico Pastorello said that the Belgian big man almost went to Juventus on a swap deal before Manchester United backed out of the transfer negotiations due to Dybala’s high wage demand. Eventually, Lukaku departed for Inter Milan where he settled in quickly and has contributed to a furious title challenge that just lost steam before the coronavirus shutdown.

Pastorello simply responded “It’s true” when asked if Dybala had been a focal point of Manchester United negotiations, but hedged his answer with, “Romelu, however, had always hoped to go to Inter because he was impressed by the affection of the Inter fans.”

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern puts up six; Dortmund, Gladbach keep pace

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Bayern Munich continues to fire at will in its bid to win yet another Bundesliga title.

The Bavarians stayed on course for its seventh-straight league title with a six-star stomping of Hoffenheim.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach kept up with the leaders, while RB Leipzig and/or Bayer Leverkusen will fall off the pace on Sunday.

Hoffenheim 0-6 Bayern Munich

This was a blowout of the highest order.

Bayern outshot Hoffenheim 25-4, completing 88 percent of its passes and 65 percent of its dribbles.

Philippe Coutinho scored twice, while Joshua Kimmich had a goal and an assist. Thomas Muller had two assists, while Serge Gnabry, Joshua Zirkzee, and Leon Goretzk rounded out the scoring to move Bayern to 52 points (standings below).

Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Freiburg

Jadon Sancho‘s 15th-minute goal was all BVB needed at the Westfalenstadion. He now has 14 goals and 15 assists in league play, as BVB sits four points back of Bayern.

USMNT phenom Giovanni Reyna played another nine minutes in the win, completing 87 percent of his passing including one key pass and an one long ball. He won 2 of 4 ground duels and completed 2 of 3 dribbles.

Augsburg 2-3 Borussia Monchengladbach

Lars Stindl had a goal and an assist including what would stand as the match-winner in an entertaining match.

All five goals came between the 49th and 83rd minutes, with Gladbach leading 2-0 and 3-1 en route to the win.

The visitors are six points back of Bayern with a match-in-hand.

Elsewhere
Fortuna Dusseldorf 3-3 Hertha Berlin — Friday
Koln 3-0 Schalke
Mainz 2-0 Paderborn
Union Berlin v. Wolfsburg — 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday
RB Leipzig v. Bayer Leverkusen — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Werder Bremen v. Eintracht Frankfurt — postponed

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 24 16 4 4 71 26 45 8-2-2 8-2-2 52
 RB Leipzig 23 14 6 3 61 25 36 7-3-1 7-3-2 48
 Borussia Dortmund 24 14 6 4 66 32 34 9-3-0 5-3-4 48
 Mönchengladbach 23 14 4 5 46 27 19 8-2-1 6-2-4 46
 Bayer Leverkusen 23 13 4 6 40 29 11 6-4-2 7-0-4 43
 FC Schalke 04 24 9 9 6 32 35 -3 5-5-2 4-4-4 36
 VfL Wolfsburg 23 9 7 7 32 28 4 4-5-3 5-2-4 34
 1899 Hoffenheim 24 10 4 10 34 42 -8 5-1-7 5-3-3 34
 SC Freiburg 24 9 6 9 31 34 -3 5-2-4 4-4-5 33
 1. FC Köln 23 9 2 12 36 42 -6 6-1-5 3-1-7 29
 1. FC Union Berlin 23 9 2 12 29 36 -7 6-0-5 3-2-7 29
 Eintracht Frankfurt 23 8 4 11 38 37 1 6-3-3 2-1-8 28
 FC Augsburg 24 7 6 11 36 50 -14 5-3-4 2-3-7 27
 Hertha BSC Berlin 24 7 6 11 30 46 -16 3-2-7 4-4-4 27
 FSV Mainz 05 24 8 1 15 33 52 -19 4-1-7 4-0-8 25
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 24 5 6 13 26 49 -23 3-3-6 2-3-7 21
 Werder Bremen 23 4 5 14 25 53 -28 1-2-8 3-3-6 17
 SC Paderborn 24 4 4 16 29 52 -23 2-1-9 2-3-7 16

Report: Barca to sell Coutinho with five Premier League clubs on alert

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Barcelona wants to give Quique Setien a huge war chest to rebuild the Blaugranas, and that means a yard sale.

A price tag of around $100 million is being put on Philippe Coutinho, as The Express says Bayern Munich will pass on their $132 option to buy him after this season’s loan.

Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea are being linked with the 27-year-old, according to The Express.

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Which of those make sense?

Coutinho turns 28 this summer, and several of the sides mentioned angle for youth when they splash the big cash.

Liverpool sold Coutinho for $192 million in 2018 and would still count $92 million in profit if they met Barca’s asking price, but my goodness even that is a big expense.

He knows Jurgen Klopp‘s system, and has made more than 200 appearances for the Anfield set (54 goals, 45 assists). The Express report says Klopp would rather capture Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz which, of course, is true of every team with a lot of money.

Coutinho has seven goals and eight assists in 27 matches for Bayern after collecting 21 and 11 in two seasons with Barcelona.

Will he be able to reclaim the form that saw him dazzle the Premier League in producing 13 goals and seven assists during his last Premier League season?

Yeah, we think so. We argued at the time that Liverpool should sell to Barca due to his exaggerated status at Anfield not matching his impact on matches. He was very good, but not irreplaceable.

But is it worth the price?

Bayern Munich tops Spurs 3-1 behind Davies, Coutinho

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Ryan Sessegnon scored his first Spurs and Champions League goals as Tottenham Hotspur rested many of its top players in a 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich in a group stage dead rubber on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Kingsley Coman, Philippe Coutinho, and Thomas Muller scored for group-winning Bayern, who got an absolute star show out of 19-year-old Canadian left back Alphonso Davies.


Three things we learned

1. Spurs depth gets valuable time: Being a dead rubber, both teams left key components out of the fray or at least the Starting XI. Jose Mourinho left Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Jan Vertonghen out of the 18 and both Heung-Min Son and Davinson Sanchez on the bench. That didn’t stop his men from a strong showing in a very difficult venue, though Bayern rested David Alaba and put Robert Lewandowski and Leon Goretzka on the bench to start the match.

2. Coutinho beats old nemesis again: The longtime Liverpool man was at his very best on Wednesday, and his wonderful second-half goal means he’s now scored against Spurs for Liverpool, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich (also assisting against the North Londoners while with Inter Milan). That’s also because his 14 matches against Spurs are the most he’s played against one club in his senior career.

3. Canadian super show from Davies: Alphonso Davies turned 19 just over a month ago but already looks a man in his prime. He registered an assist and hit the post in addition to making seven successful dribbles and winning five tackles, also completing almost 90 percent of his passes. There are shades of teammate David Alaba in his game. That’s high praise, but Davies potential may be higher than the Austrian.

Man of the Match: Davies was absolutely electric at left back. It’d be too easy to give it to Coutinho, who was just as good, and like Spurs manager we relish the chance to be contrarian.


Early chances were there for both sides, Paulo Gazzaniga the busier of the keepers and making a fine save on Benjamin Pavard.

Serge Gnabry tried to find Philippe Coutinho through a sea of defenders, but his pass bounded off Moussa Sissoko and onto the path of back-post residing Coman for the opener.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Spurs leveled the score in the 20th minute when Sessegnon collected a deflected shot and buried it past Manuel Neuer.

Sissoko led a rush but couldn’t get cross over the fray as Spurs looked better money for a second goal.

Then Joshua Kimmich saw a yellow card for standing firm as Giovani Lo Celso wandered into him.

Bayern had the better of the final 15 minutes of the half, when Muller was in prime position to deposit Alphonso Davies’ rebound off the goal post.

Coutinho tried to put the match to bed in stoppage time, but his blazing shot from distance was touched off the bar by Gazzaniga.

He’d get his goal via another audacious shot, this time zipping a lay-off from Alphonso Davies through traffic and inside the far post.

Heung-min Son had a late breakaway saved by Neuer.