Leicester City are keeping a close eye on Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho and could move for the Brazilian this summer.
The 29-year-old, who has not been seen since picking up a knee injury over six months ago, is on the transfer list at Camp Nou this summer, with club officials keen to move on from the Brazilian and recover whatever money they can from their £142m investment in him in 2018.
The problem is that few teams around the globe are prepared to pay up for Coutinho or meet his high wage demands, meaning the idea of offloading Coutinho is nowhere near as easy as it sounds on paper.
A handful of sides from across the globe have recently been linked with Coutinho, and Leicester are the latest. Mundo Deportivo, who cite reports in England that all link back to Spain anyway, state that Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers still thinks very highly of Coutinho from their mutual time at Liverpool and is ready to give him the chance to restart his career.
It’s suggested that Leicester could offer around £17m for the Brazilian – which would represent a £125m loss for Barcelona – or take Coutinho on loan this summer if that figure isn’t enough to convince the Spanish side to sell.
Barcelona are willing to listen to any and all proposals for Coutinho this summer. Their first priority is to get his enormous wages off the books, but they would prefer to do that while also bringing in a transfer fee.
Accepting that £125m loss may be too tough for Barcelona to take. With Coutinho’s contract expiring in 2023, this is the final summer in which they can sell the winger for his full value, although after his injury-hit nightmare at Camp Nou, the club are well aware that they are about to eat an enormous loss regardless.
In the short-term, if no bigger offers arrive, Barcelona may prefer the idea of loaning Coutinho out in the hope that he bumps up his transfer value, just as they dreamed when sending him to Bayern Munich in 2019.
Ironically, Coutinho actually did well enough in his spell in Germany to earn himself another life at Camp Nou, only for this knee injury to derail things quickly and leave Barcelona scrambling around for a buyer again.
That buyer has not yet revealed themselves, meaning Barcelona may be forced to bite the bullet and take whatever they are offered this summer – assuming a bid comes in.