Coutinho reportedly prefers a return to England over Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho would prefer to return to the Premier League over Barcelona, according to Spanish media outlet Marca.

The Brazilian will return to Barcelona next week and hold talks with new boss Ronald Koeman, who is keen to understand what Coutinho’s intentions are before making a decision on the matter. The 28 year old will tell the former Netherlands manager that he is unsure about staying at the club beyond this summer. He would rather return to England. 

It had recently been reported by Mundo Deportivo that Koeman had called Coutinho to congratulate him on Bayern’s Champions League victory and inform him that he was a part of his plans for the upcoming season. It looks like they will need to have another conversation before having clarity on the situation.

The former Liverpool midfielder enjoyed the best years of his career in the Premier League. Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea have been interested in him in the past. Kia Joorabchian, the player’s agent, has close ties to some members of the Arsenal hierarchy and this could help the Gunners move ahead of other clubs who are interested in the Brazil international. 

Koeman is believed to be keen on including Coutinho in his plans for next season but Barcelona would prefer to offload him as his wages are far too high. They want to sell him but will not consider offers less than £72 million. They understand that it is unlikely that they will receive bids in this region for the player in the current financial environment and so are open to sending him out on loan. 

The Spanish giants will still find it challenging to find a club who will be willing to pay Coutinho’s £13.5 million annual salary. Barcelona were able to find an agreement with Bayern Munich last season that led to them receiving a £7.6 million loan fee and letting the German club pay the player’s wages for the 2019/20 campaign. It will be difficult to replicate that deal with another club this summer due to the financial consequences of the pandemic. 

Arsenal have indicated that they will not pursue a move for Coutinho as they have already signed Willian and do not see the need to bring the 28 year old to the Emirates. You can never say never in football though and if they are presented with a tempting offer to sign Coutinho on loan by Barcelona, they could take it. 

If a loan for the Brazilian does not end up happening, Koeman will be happy to work with Coutinho next season. 

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