Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona rumours seem to surface once every six weeks at least. Sometimes more often. They’ve only gone a little quiet of late with the attacking midfielder’s form dipping following a winter layoff, an ankle injury the player has since struggled to fully recover from.
Today, though, Mundo Deportivo are claiming that Barcelona are still looking hard at the talented 24-year-old Brazilian, even if talk about him in the press has cooled along with his form. In fact, they claim that Coutinho is one of two finalists to replace club legend Andres Iniesta.
The other is PSG’s Marco Verratti. Third on Mundo’s supposed list is Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara, the former Barcelona academy graduate who Pep Guardiola took with him to Germany and who, since Guardiola left, has found himself regularly linked with a move back to Barca.
Barcelona wouldn’t be able to sign both players, and on paper at least Verratti appears a slightly better fit for what Barcelona are meant to be looking for in an Iniesta replacement. This is especially true in light of earlier reports that they view Coutinho as an attacker and not a natural midfielder.
Meanwhile, rumours have Iniesta being offered more than half-a-million pounds, after tax per week, to head to the Chinese Super League this summer, though previous reports have consistently claimed the 32-year-old still views himself as a future starter for his current club.
In fact, at various times this season it has been reported that Barcelona have promised Iniesta they will not sign a potential replacement for him this coming summer. It all adds up to a slightly confusing picture, one that Mundo Deportivo’s new report doesn’t really add anything new to.
Barcelona might see Coutinho as an Iniesta replacement and they might move for him this summer. They also might prefer Marco Verratti and see him as a more natural fit for the position they’re looking to fill. And they also might not fill that position this summer. So. Clear as mud.