Barcelona playmaker Coutinho is lined up to replace Real Madrid-bound Hazard
Chelsea’s sorry showing against Arsenal on Saturday has increased their desire to sign Barcelona and Brazil star Philippe Coutinho.
Beaten 2-0 by the Gunners at the Emirates, the Chelsea players were subjected to an astonishing broadside in the post-match press conference from their boss Maurizio Sarri.
Describing himself as “really angry” with his side’s lethargic display, the Italian continued: “This defeat was due to our mentality, more than anything else. This is something I can’t accept. This group of players are extremely difficult to motivate.”
Coutinho on the radar
Consequently, says the Daily Express, Chelsea have asked Barcelona to “keep them in touch” with any plans they have to offload Coutinho.
The Spanish giants paid Liverpool £142m for the Brazilian playmaker last January but the Express claims that his dream move to the Camp Nou has “turned into a nightmare” and that his future under coach Ernesto Valverde is now being questioned.
The paper says that Barca are believed to be “willing to sell” Coutinho in order to fund the re-signing of Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain. They would want at least £100m for Coutinho and that’s a price Chelsea are apparently willing to pay.
Hazard for 100 million
Is the reason that Chelsea have their eye on Coutinho the knowledge that they’re set to lose Eden Hazard to Real Madrid this summer?
The Spanish publication Marca certainly thinks so. The paper says the Belgian forward will wait until the end of the season “before forcing a move”.
Marca says the Blues are set to negotiate with Real Madrid at the end of the season and “€100m [£88.5m] is the asking price set by Chelsea”. The Spanish outfit will try and bring that price down a little by reminding Chelsea that Hazard will only have one year left on his contract by the time negotiations begin.
Morata to Atletico
Alvaro Morata is no longer a Blue, reports talkSPORT. The radio broadcaster says that he has “completed a move” to Atletico Madrid. His departure will make room in the dressing room for Gonzalo Higuain, who has been left out of AC Milan’s squad to face Genoa this evening, all but confirming his move to Stamford Bridge.
The Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Morata will return to Madrid on loan and the Spanish outfit will have “an option to buy the striker for €55m [£48.55m] at the end of the season”.
Higuain to Stamford Bridge
Having enjoyed a good working relationship with the striker at Napoli, Sarri has made no secret of his wish to bring Higuain to London on loan until the end of the season. The Argentine striker is currently on loan at AC Milan from parent club Juventus.
TalkSPORT says that negotiations are still ongoing between Chelsea and Juve but nothing is expected to derail the move.
In omitting Higuain from the squad for tonight’s match, AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso said: “I accept his decision [to leave]. Surely he could have done more and maybe we could have helped him fit in better.”
Premier League results
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 Leicester City 3
- AFC Bournemouth 2 West Ham United 0
- Liverpool 4 Crystal Palace 3
- Manchester United 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
- Newcastle United 3 Cardiff City 0
- Southampton 2 Everton 1
- Watford 0 Burnley 0
- Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0
- Huddersfield Town 0 Manchester City 3
- Fulham 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2
Next Premier League fixtures
Tuesday 29 January (7.45pm unless stated)
- Arsenal vs. Cardiff City
- Fulham vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
- Huddersfield Town vs. Everton
- Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. West Ham United
- Manchester United vs. Burnley (8pm)
- Newcastle United vs. Manchester City (8pm, live on BT Sport 1)
Wednesday 30 January (7.45pm unless stated)
- AFC Bournemouth vs. Chelsea
- Southampton vs. Crystal Palace
- Liverpool vs. Leicester City (8pm, live on BT Sport 1)
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford (8pm)