Philippe Coutinho’s agent claims it would be near-impossible for the Brazilian playmaker to join Manchester United.
Three weeks ago a claim from Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri suggested that United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain had all contacted Barcelona to enquire about the star.
It’s not as if United need a player like Coutinho when there’s better options out there. He’d cost a fortune and there’s no guarantee Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to sign him.
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But Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, responded to speculation concerning his client potentially signing for United on talkSPORT, stating: “Manchester United is a great club, I have players there and I have all the respect for them, but as far as Philippe goes it would be an extremely difficult to a near-impossible move.
“It would be very difficult for Philippe to play for any of Liverpool’s rivals, because he has such a great affinity towards Liverpool. His time there was fantastic.
“Yes, but like all big players at some point, you want to experience a different thing in your career because your career is very short, but it [his Anfield exit] has no reflection on the fact his heart and affinity is very much with Liverpool.
“I know he was cheering every time they had a chance. Lucas Leiva is the same way. A lot of these guys who leave Liverpool remain Liverpool fans because of the fans and the passion they have.
“So it would be hard for him to go to a rival.
“Every time we’ve spoken about it we’ve had that same conversation, he would find it hard to play for another club in the Premier League.”
We labelled the Coutinho stories as ‘ridiculous’ when they first emerged back in January. They’ve not gone away but it’s always felt like a method to boost interest in the Barça forward, who is probably on the for sale list at Camp Nou.
Barcelona recently signed Antoine Griezmann and that arrival is likely to limit Coutinho’s game time next season should he remain at the club.
However, Joorabchian also claims that he is unaware of any reports linking Coutinho with a return to Liverpool: “I don’t know about those stories.
“Bartomeu was very clear with me, saying he doesn’t want the player to leave and he has a future there.
“They made a tremendous effort to bring him over, he is Barcelona’s most expensive signing in history and the second or third most expensive signing in the world.
“He had an amazing Copa America, he was rated in the team of the Copa America, he won the Copa America with Brazil and he’s won three trophies since he’s been at Barcelona in the last two years – so he’s had a great time there.
“As things happen in football, sometimes players feel a bit uncomfortable about somewhere, sometimes it’s the clubs that just don’t quite fit.
“If that happens obviously we’ll decide what’s best for Philippe, but at the moment we’re being told that’s not happening, it’s fine.”
Fair play to the agent for putting these rumours to bed.