ANTOINE GRIEZMANN’s impending transfer to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid spells bad news for Philippe Coutinho, who could head for Chelsea.
Barcelona are poised to complete a £108m move for Griezmann after the 2018 World Cup winner announced he was leaving the Wanda Metropolitano.
The 28-year-old said his goodbyes on social media last night, and Atletico’s La Liga rivals will pay his release clause this summer.
Griezmann’s arrival at the Nou Camp, though, adds to the uncertainty surrounding Coutinho’s future in Catalonia.
The ex-Liverpool playmaker has endured a torrid time there since his club-record £142m switch in January 2018.
Coutinho has been linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer.
And reports have suggested the club are prepared to take a loss on the Brazil international as they put a £100m price tag on him.
A return to the Premier League has been mooted given the 26-year-old’s high stature in England from his time at Anfield.
The speculation surrounding Coutinho’s exit and Griezmann’s arrival at Barcelona comes as:
- Lionel Messi tells Barcelona to sign Griezmann and these TWO stars
- Coutinho is comforted by a team-mate as Nou Camp fans crank up the pressure
- Cristiano Ronaldo tells Juventus which THREE Barcelona players the club should sign
“Offloading Coutinho would fund Barcelona’s deal for Griezmann”
But a return to Merseyside looks out of the question as Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League finalists have progressed since the sale.
While Liverpool are unlikely to bring him back to England, the signing of Griezmann does not bode well for Coutinho.
BBC Sport journalist David Ornstein says Griezmann’s addition to Ernesto Valverde’s squad is likely to see Coutinho depart.
Offloading Coutinho would fund Barcelona’s deal for Griezmann, who would certainly push the No.7 out of the starting XI.
Valverde must work out where Griezmann fits into the side to accommodate him alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
In terms of Coutinho, Ornstein has further backed the notion he could be one line to join Chelsea.
The Blues have been credited with interest in luring him to London ahead of the summer transfer window.
And Ornstein told BBC Sport: “If Coutinho is moved on, I’m hearing a potential destination is Chelsea.
“The 26-year-old would be among the contenders to replace Eden Hazard – should the Belgian move to Real Madrid.”
Whether Chelsea can sign Coutinho before the start of the 2019/20 campaign, though, is another matter.
Maurizio Sarri’s side have taken their transfer ban imposed by FIFA, spanning the next two windows, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
An appeal remains ongoing with the Blues unsure on whether they will be able to make any additions in the meantime.
A quick resolution is not expected so Coutinho may be left to wait with Griezmann arriving imminently.