Chelsea boss Frank Lampard ready to sign Barcelona ace… but there’s a catch

Chelsea are reportedly thinking about signing Philippe Coutinho this summer but could come up against Newcastle in a transfer tug-of-war. The Blues are expected to be busy during the upcoming window as manager Frank Lampard looks to overhaul his squad at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are set to welcome Hakim Ziyech to the club when he finally completes a long-awaited move from Ajax having signed a deal in January, but Lampard is after further attacking reinforcements.

Jadon Sancho is the most high-profile target being linked with a move to west London while the Blues are also targeting a new striker and defensive signings are expected.

But the latest reports from Spain suggest Chelsea could initially focus on out-of-favour Barcelona midfielder Coutinho as their potential first signing of the summer.

Marca claim that both the Blues and Newcastle are thinking about signing the player, who has spent the past season on loan at Bayern Munich.

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Chelsea have been linked with the Brazilian for several months, and it has been suggested that a loan move with an option to buy could be the most likely course of action.

Coutinho does not appear to be in Barcelona’s future plans, despite the La Liga giants shelling out £142million to sign the playmaker from Liverpool in January 2018.

The 27-year-old has impressed while in Germany, scoring nine goals and providing eight assists in 32 appearances across all competitions.

Bayern have an option to make Coutinho’s loan move to the Allianz Arena permanent, but the Bavarian giants are reportedly put off by the cost involved.

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Coutinho has used the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to undergo surgery on his ankle, which will sideline him for around two weeks.

However, the former Liverpool ace should return in time to complete the final few matches of the Bundesliga season so Chelsea will be monitoring his progress closely.

Marca claim that the next few weeks are therefore key in mapping out the Blues’ summer transfer plans, while much depends on Newcastle’s impending takeover.

A huge cash injection could see the Magpies become major players in the market, and the club will have few reservations about using their new-found wealth to make a statement signing.

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Chelsea should also have cash to burn, having been restricted by transfer bans in recent windows and unable to spend any income generated from player sales.

Additionally, the Blues have a good relationship with Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian, which could help them finalise any deal.

However, Tottenham are believed to have come close to signing Coutinho last summer before a deal collapsed so Chelsea will have to be wary of their transfer attempt being hijacked.

The Bundesliga is scheduled to get back underway this weekend, with Bayern in action away at Union Berlin on Sunday afternoon.

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