GET YOUR PHIL
It might be the end for Philippe Coutinho at Barcelona. His teammates, most notably Gerard Pique, and manager Ernesto Valverde are publicly backing the Brazilian, but the same certainly cannot be said of the fans.
Coutinho played 80 ineffective and frustrating minutes against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, with replacement Ivan Rakitic making an immediate impact with an assist for the final goal in a 3-1 win. Coutinho, for his part, was whistled by the Nou Camp crowd.
Mere hours after that game, the Sunday Mirror tells us that the 26-year-old ‘has issued a come-and-get-me plea to Manchester United’. Which does indeed mean we’re back on this train again.
He has apparently ‘spoken with a number’ of the United squad to discuss a possible move, having made Old Trafford his ‘favoured destination’.
Liverpool are ‘unlikely to want him back’, and the player’s wages and transfer fee prohibits most clubs around the world from following up on any interest. PSG are one of the few who could compete to sign him.
But it is United who may well lead the race, with the club now contemplating a potential £100m move.
WAGE A WAR
One stumbling block would be the future of Alexis Sanchez, who is proving to be quite the problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He is making it difficult to persuade David de Gea to stay on comparatively meagre wages, and could certainly restrict the club in the transfer market.
According to the Daily Express, any attempt to shift Sanchez out this summer will fail as a source insists ‘he doesn’t have “any plans to leave and wants to remain at United”.
PSG, again, are interested in the Chilean, but the 30-year-old will refuse to leave even if United subsidise his wages.
The exclusive, for what it’s worth, is penned by Neil Fissler: a rugby journalist with something of a reputation. So yeah.
AND THE REST
Newcastle’s Swiss defender Fabian Schar, 27, is a target for Tottenham and Arsenal… The Gunners are ready to compete with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid for Ajax for Argentine defender Nicolas Tagliafico, 26… Bayern Munich are hoping to finalise a deal for Lille and Ivory Coast forward Nicolas Pepe, the 23-year-old who has been a target for Arsenal… The owner of Lille has revealed that he has already rejected offers of over £40m from English clubs for Pepe, who has also been linked with Wolves, Tottenham and Manchester United… Manchester United are monitoring AC Milan’s Italian right-back Davide Calabria, 22, as they look to replace 33-year-old Ecuador international Antonio Valencia.