Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho has reportedly agreed
to sign for Chelsea, but the two clubs are yet to settle on an acceptable
The La Liga giants are seeking as much as €90 million for the
Brazilian, but the Blues are expecting to spend nearer €70 million, according
Any deal at the top end of Barcelona's asking price would
represent a club-record signing for the Blues, beating the £71.5 million they
paid Athletic Bilbao for Kepa Arizabalaga.
Coutinho is currently on loan at Bayern Munich after his
dream move to the Nou Camp turned sour but the Bundesliga champions are not
expected to sign him outright due to the high cost of their option to buy.
That has put a number of top Premier League sides on high
alert and it's now believed that Chelsea will beat off Arsenal, Spurs and
Manchester United to get the Brazilians signature.
But one of the most-talked-about transfer sagas in recent
memory seems unlikely to have a smooth and straightforward passage despite this
While Spanish outlet Sport says Coutinho has given Chelsea
his word that he wants to sign and that a return to the Premier League with
Frank Lampard's side is top of his agenda, the two clubs remain still some way
apart on agreeing to a suitable fee.
Barcelona head coach Quique Setien, who wasn't in charge
when Coutinho made his £142 million move to the Nou Camp from Liverpool, has
made some positive noises about the player, suggesting the Catalan giants could
be ready to wipe the slate clean.
However, Setien's comments could also be interpreted as a
bid to drive the midfield playmaker's price up and show that Barcelona will
play hardball with any potential suitors.
"I think Coutinho is a great player," he told RAC1
(via the London Evening Standard). "I like him a lot. He's a player who,
in principle, is Barcelona's.
"Any team that wants him has to pay his clause or a certain amount to Barca.
"I'm counting on him to be here at the start of next
season. I don't know what he wants to do.
"Perhaps I have to speak to him and ask him. He is a
great player, without a doubt."
- TEAMtalk media