Playmaker Philippe Coutinho has been talked up by Quique Setien, manager of his parent club Barcelona, suggesting he’d welcome the Brazilian back into his squad next season.
After leaving Liverpool in 2018, Coutinho failed to impact at the Camp Nou as much as was expected of him and has spent the 2019/20 campaign out on loan at Bayern Munich.
The German Bundesliga side have an option to make the deal permanent, but they are not expected to take up that possibility—leaving Coutinho with either another outgoing deal or a return to Catalunya.
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Barca are thought to be open to selling him, to raise funds and restructure the team which has failed to challenge in the Champions League of late, but Setien has said a return to his squad is possible.
“Coutinho? I like him very much,” the manager told Spanish station RAC 1.
“He is still a Barcelona player. You have to pay the clause or a transfer fee to Barca [to sign him].
“I think he can be here at the beginning of next season. I don’t know if he wants to come back or go away again, I have to talk to him to ask him.
“He is a great player, no doubt about it.”
Chelsea have been most strongly linked with him for a summer move, with some reports suggesting Barcelona would be interested in an exchange deal involving N’Golo Kante.
Frank Lampard’s team have already concluded a deal to bring in Hakim Ziyech at the end of this term, while Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi all fight for similar roles, as well as veteran duo Willian and Pedro, who are both likely to leave Stamford Bridge.
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