According to the front page of Spanish newspaper Sport English published on the morning of Tuesday 2 April 2019 (via Daily Mail), Chelsea are keeping tabs on Barcelona and Brazil star Philippe Coutinho.
The Blues are one of three teams chasing the former Liverpool star, the others being Premier League rivals Manchester United and European rivals Paris Saint-Germain – per the original report.
This will all, of course, depend on whether Maurizio Sarri’s men will be under a transfer ban by the summer window as they are currently fighting to have it lifted.
The 47-time capped Brazil international has struggled to settle in at the Camp Nou since his January 2018 switch from Anfield, where he dazzled fans with 54 goals and 45 assists in 201 appearances, leading to mass speculation about his future.
Although the original report states that the Blues would like Coutinho to supply Eden Hazard next season, it’s been well-documented that the Belgium international could leave Stamford Bridge for Real Madrid in the summer, a sickening prospect for most supporters of the west London club.
However, it certainly seems less daunting when you consider the possibility of Coutinho coming in to replace him. Any deal which saw the Barcelona ace return to England would be a stunning one to witness unfold, and it’s likely that the decision would earn him a few enemies on Merseyside.
This is because the 26-year-old is one of the few players in world football that could step into Hazard’s boots with ease.
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Let’s look at the facts: Coutinho possesses English top-flight experience from his time at Liverpool, boasting a cool 41 goals in 152 games, which gives him a huge advantage over other possible targets for Roman Abramovich.
Two years younger than the Belgian, Coutinho is as good a replacement the Blues are likely to get if their transfer ban gets rescinded – a versatile attacker that can play in attacking midfield, on both wings or even as a forward.
There can be little doubt that the loss of a player who was so key to the 2016/2017 Premier League title-winning campaign would be sorely felt but, supplemented by the addition arrival of Christian Pulisic, signing Coutinho would give Chelsea a replacement worth salivating over.