Barca chief on Coutinho future amid Man Utd links

Date published: Wednesday 6th February 2019 12:04

Philippe Coutinho Barcelona

Ernesto Valverde, Philippe Coutinho and Jordi Alba will all be staying at Barcelona this summer, according to the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Coutinho had truly been the red herring that dragged on through the January transfer window to keep it vaguely interesting.

It never seemed particularly likely that rumours linking him with a move to Manchester United would come to fruition, while even former club Liverpool and Premier League rivals Chelsea were reportedly interested.

Coutinho has not yet truly settled at the Nou Camp since joining 12 months ago, with manager Valverde claimed to have ‘given up’ on the Brazilian.

However, along with his boss and left-back Alba, Coutinho is set to stay at the Spanish giants this summer.

“Valverde has a contract for next year and he’s happy to continue, and I want him to continue even if we don’t win anything this season,” Bartomeu told Marca. “Being Barça coach is a heavy responsibility, but I think he’s very settled at the club.

“We expect a lot from Coutinho, we don’t want to sell him, he’s one of the good players we want to have. There is no risk of Jordi Alba leaving, when two love each other so much in the end they understand each other.”

Bartomeu also praised Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele’s form this season with news of a potential new contract for Messi.

“We hope Dembele continues like this,” Bartomeu added. “He has great talent, every time he comes out to play, he’s surprising us, I’ve talked to him at 1.30 in the morning, he wants to succeed, he’s winning the heart of the Catalans.

“There will be a renewal for Leo, he ends his contract in 2021 and, as he is playing, we have Messi for many more years, when he thinks it is convenient, we will do it.”


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