March 20, 2019

Andres Iniesta: Difficult To See Neymar Returning To Barcelona

13 January 2019, 09:04 | Anna Jefferson

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Philippe Coutinho Barcelona 2018-19

Manchester United have contacted the agent of Barcelona ace Philippe Coutinho to sound out a January transfer, according to a report.

It has also been reported that Manchester United will wait till the summer and only make a bid after the finalisation of a permanent manager at the club. The Brazilian has started just half of Barcelona's La Liga matches this season and is being linked with a move away after just a year with the Catalan giants.

Coutinho instantly won silverware upon his move last season, joining up with a Barca side who were well in front in the race for the La Liga title.

A further stumbling block to a potential summer reunion is Barça's insistence that Neymar drop his lawsuit against them over a signing-on bonus negotiated as part of his final contract renewal at the club.

The final unusual clause the two clubs agreed on after Coutinho's £142 million move, as reported by The Times' Paul Joyce, is that Barca have to pay a "premium clause" of £89 million if they want to sign any Reds' players until 2020.

Barca have previously ruled out a return for the Brazilian but the club's director of institutional relations, Guillermo Amor, said in November: "Anything is possible".

"Now he plays and Coutinho doesn't and it is the other way around".

"He's a player that thinks more about the team than himself and there are no doubts about him being one of the best players in the world."

The information comes from the Evening Standard's Spanish football correspondent Ben Hayward, who notes that Coutinho has failed to nail down a role after first being billed as a replacement for Neymar wide on the left, and then to take over from Andres Iniesta in midfield.

The Red Devils are keen to lure the former Premier League player.


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