Philippe Coutinho

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Barcelona, Bayern Munich agree deal to loan Coutinho

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Barcelona and Bayern Munich are nearing the completion of a loan deal that will see midfielder Philippe Coutinho move from Spain to Germany, according to a Barcelona spokesperson on Friday.

[ MORE: Who are the top contenders in this season’s Champions League? ]

Barcelona spokesperson Guillermo Amor confirmed the progress of negotiations on Friday:

“We can confirm that there is an agreement in principle for the loan of Coutinho to Bayern and we just have to finalize the deal”

According to Mundo Deportivo and Sport, Bayern will pay between $16 million and $22 million for this season’s loan, with an option to make the deal permanent for $133 million. Coutinho was left out of Barcelona’s squad for Friday’s La Liga opener against Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona have spent the entire summer shopping Coutinho to most of the biggest clubs across Europe, desperate to unburden themselves of the 27-year-old Brazilian’s lucrative contract and recoup a sizable chunk of the (up to) $192 million they paid to acquire him from Liverpool barely 18 months ago. Tottenham Hotspur were briefly linked with Coutinho prior to the English transfer window closing on Aug. 8, but those reports were quickly shot down.

Arsenal eye Coutinho, defenders ahead of transfer deadline

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Let’s start with the big one: A report from L’Equipe in France states that Arsenal are closing in a season-long loan move for Philippe Coutinho.

The Barcelona and Brazil star, 27, has struggled since swapping Anfield for the Nou Camp and the former Liverpool superstar is reportedly keen on a move back to the Premier League.

Per the report, Coutinho will spend the season on loan at Arsenal and will not be heading to Paris Saint-Germain, the club he has been linked to on numerous occasions as Neymar has been linked with a move back to Barcelona all summer long.

After signing Nicolas Pepe for $87 million, adding Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid and still having Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on board, quite why Arsenal would want another mercurial playmaker is beyond pretty much everyone.

Except, most importantly, Arsenal.


The Gunners finally appear to be willing to sign a new central defender. But is it too late?

With just over 48 hours to go until the transfer window shuts for Premier League clubs, Arsenal have been linked with moves for two center backs.

RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Juventus’ Daniele Rugani are the two players mentioned in a report from the Guardian.

The former would be a tricky deal given the fact that Leipzig want $85 million for their 20-year-old central defender, plus Upamecano is keen to play in the UEFA Champions League for the Bundesliga side this season.

As for Rugani, it is believed Juve are open to an initial loan deal and then selling him next summer which could suit the Gunners as they reportedly have just over $50 million to spend this summer. Those reports broke before a record-breaking $87 million move for winger Pepe, but remember, that deal is to be paid in several instalments.

One thing is certain: Arsenal need help defensively. And they have done for about a decade now.

Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin will return from injury this season to boost Unai Emery‘s options but with Laurent Koscielny heading to Bordeaux and the likes of Shkodran Mustafi still around, Arsenal are looking at the likes of Sokratis and Callum Chambers to step up in defense this season. They did buy William Saliba, 18, this summer but he has gone back on loan to Saint-Etienne for the upcoming campaign, so they are no better off than least season when their leaky defense cost them finishing in the top four.

Like Manchester United, it has been pretty comical to see Arsenal blatantly ignore their need to sign new defenders in recent seasons and instead prioritize buying attacking player after attacking player.

Rugani, 25, would seem more likely to arrive and if that does happen, all of a sudden the Gunners are in the conversation for having one of the best transfer windows for PL clubs this summer.

Transfer rumor roundup: Neymar for Coutinho plus cash? Dembele to Liverpool?

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The rumors are plenty to finish the work week, so let’s dive right into the buzz around the Premier League summer.

The Rodri-to-City reports have been long-running, but that didn’t stop another team from trying a 23rd hour move for the Atletico Madrid midfielder.

Kicker in Germany reports that Bayern Munich tried to swoop into the picture and snatch the player away from Man City, but that Rodri remains sold on working with Pep Guardiola and the Premier League champions.

Barcelona’s hopes of acquiring Neymar for far less than what some say could be a $300 million transfer fee involves a part-swap deal.

AS says that Barca would offer Paris Saint-Germain $100 million plus Philippe Coutinho in exchange for Neymar’s services.

Given Neymar’s injury history and off-field issues, maybe PSG will jump at that and use the $100 million on one of the many players linked with the club this offseason. From Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi to Real’s James Rodriguez, that money would be useful.

And Barca is going to be selling any number of players this offseason, but would you believe they’d admit failure in the case of Ousmane Dembele?

Don Balon reports that Liverpool of all teams is ready to spend nearly $170 million on Dembele, giving them at-worst insurance and at-best a replacement for any moves made by Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah (who are widely reported as happy at Anfield).

Finally, Sky Sports says Inter Milan’s action on Romelu Lukaku could not happen until June 30 when Financial Fair Play sanctions relax on the Serie A unit.

United apparently wants around $90 million for the Belgian striker, while Inter is hoping to spend a little more than half of that figure.

Inter would also, Sky says, have to sell Mauro Icardi and there’s been little interest in the prolific but controversial striker. Not a huge surprise.

Coutinho arrives as Brazil downs Bolivia in Copa America opener

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Philippe Coutinho had an extremely difficult first season at Barcelona, but he put those struggles behind him when his country needed him the most. Missing the injured Neymar, Coutinho stepped up and delivered a brace as Brazil downed Bolivia 3-0, with Gremio winger Everton adding the cherry on top.

The first half Brazil completely dominated, but were wasteful as they looked to create the perfect goal. They put 12 shots towards net but only found the target with one in the first 45 minutes, failing to find the breakthrough.

After the break Brazil boss Tite made changes tactically and Brazil was far more dangerous, paying off almost immediately. A Richarlison cross in the box clipped the arm of Adriano Jusino and using VAR the referee gave the penalty. Coutinho arrived at the spot to dispatch the penalty with a low, driving effort and open the scoring.

The Barcelona frontman wasn’t done, making a wonderful late run to meet Roberto Firmino‘s cross at the far post and heading in Brazil’s second just three minutes later.

After the second goal, Brazil immediately shut it down, controlling possession and passing around at a slow tempo. Bolivia hardly saw a touch of the ball after Brazil took its 2-0 lead, with the hosts winning every aerial battle and getting to every loose ball. They finished the game with a passing advantage of 553-145. Gabriel Jesus came on for the final 25 minutes in place of Firmino, and Everton replaced David Neres. The latter would prove fruitful, as the 23-year-old danced past two defenders into the box and delivered an absolutely beautiful curler that left Carlos Lampe with no chance.

The win is the fourth in a row for Brazil who has now kept three straight clean sheets as well. Bolivia, meanwhile, is in real trouble given the monumentally difficult group they were drawn in, with Peru and Venezuela also real threats to reach the knockout stage.

Watch Live: Copa America begins as hosts Brazil meet Bolivia

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The hosts are set to kick off the 2019 Copa America as Brazil takes on Bolivia in Sao Paulo.

Neymar will not take part in the tournament after suffering an ankle injury in the warmup friendlies. That increases the importance on Philippe Coutinho and Richarlison who look to shoulder the brunt of the creativity.

[ WATCH LIVE: Brazil vs. Bolivia on Telemundo Deportes ]

As Tite takes charge of his 39th match as manager of Brazil, Champions League winners Liverpool is heavily represented as Roberto Firmino leads the lines and Alisson starts in goal. Dani Alves captains the side as club teammate Neymar was stripped of the armband before his injury.

PSG teammates Marqinhos and Thiago Silva both start as the center-back partnership, while Casemiro and Fernandinho start together in central midfield. Everton winger Richarlison is in the lineup as well, opposite Ajax attacker David Neres. Miranda, Arthur, Willian, and Gabriel Jesus are all on the bench for Brazil as Tite rotates the attackers.

For Bolivia, Marcelo Moreno of Chinese club Shijiazhuang Ever Bright leads the attack up front supported by a trio of central midfielders in Raul Castro, Fernando Saucedo, and Leonel Justiniano as Bolivia looks to attack through the wide areas with Alejandro Chumacero and Erwin Saaedra.