Barcelona have moved to quash speculation about forward Philippe Coutinho leaving the club by saying he will only be allowed to go if a club triggers his £355 million release clause.
Coutinho only joined Barcelona in January 2018 for £142 million, but he hasn’t had the impact he or the club had hoped for – despite his goal against Manchester United in the Champions League last night. This has led to speculation that the 26-year-old could move on, with United and Chelsea both rumoured to be interested in a deal.
However, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has spoken out and made clear that Coutinho remains an integral part of manager Ernesto Valverde’s plans and he will only be sold if a club meets his astronomical release clause.
Bartomeu told Spanish TV station TVE that Coutinho “will remain with the team unless [another club] meet his release clause.
This statement is designed to put potential suitors off – neither club could afford the fee – but this stance could change if Barcelona pursue a deal to re-sign Neymar from Paris St-Germain. If that happened, then they may be tempted to listen to offers.