Philippe Coutinho's Agent Dismisses PSG Transfer Talk Amid Barca, Neymar Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2019

Philippe Coutinho of FC Barcelona during the Trofeu Joan Gamper match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium on August 04, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Kia Joorabchian, the agent for Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho, has denied speculation he is in France to hold discussions with Paris Saint-Germain regarding a possible transfer involving his client. 

Coutinho's future at the Camp Nou has been a topic of discussion throughout the summer after struggling to make an impression since joining the Blaugrana from Liverpool in January 2018.

Recent reports have suggested Barcelona are seeking to include Coutinho as a makeweight in a deal to bring Neymar to the club. But speaking to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Espana), Joorabchian dismissed rumours he was in discussions with the Ligue 1 outfit.

"I am not in Paris; I am in London," he said. "Reports of me being in Paris discussing Coutinho with PSG are simply false."

According to ESPN FC, Barcelona are ready to offer Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic to PSG, as well as €100 million (£92 million), in exchange for Neymar:

B/R Football @brfootball

Barcelona are open to offering Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho and €100M for Neymar, according to @ESPNFC https://t.co/xIb4E2mxMY

Neymar joined the Paris giants from Barcelona in 2017, becoming the most expensive player in history in the process. However, since he made the move, speculation about a return to Spain has simmered.

For Coutinho, the final few days of the transfer window look set to be critical.

At Liverpool, the Brazilian was one of the best attacking midfielders in the game. His close control, vision in possession and long-range shooting made him a major threat. Since moving to the Camp Nou, those qualities have been rarely seen.

There were at least some signs of improvement when he played an important role in Brazil's Copa America triumph this summer:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Coutinho: Had a better WhoScored rating (7.73) than any other player at the 2019 Copa America For more player stats -- https://t.co/UklSKJ0274 https://t.co/dBkJzJ6fFv

It would be intriguing to see Coutinho at PSG given manager Thomas Tuchel is blessed with a number of attacking options.

Vying for a No. 10 position already are Julian Draxler and summer signing Pablo Sarabia, while Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria have at times occupied the wide positions along with Neymar.

With Antoine Griezmann arriving at Barcelona to join Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, competition for attacking places will be fierce next season, and it's not clear where Coutinho fits into that setup.

Rafael Hernandez of Grup 14 thinks Barcelona are set to pay too much to bring Neymar back although would welcome the chance to get Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic off the books:

Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117

Getting rid of Coutinho and Rakitic is the real opportunity. Neymar’s a gamble, an expensive one even if he has accepted to lower his wages.

Given the speculation around his future, the rumours regarding a pursuit of Neymar and the acquisition of Griezmann, there are indications Barcelona don't have faith in Coutinho going into the new season.

With that in mind, he could benefit from a transfer, although deals like the one mentioned involving Neymar are extremely difficult to broker.