Five Premier League Clubs Reportedly Interested in Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho could be making a premier move…

The 29-year-old Brazilian soccer player is open to leaving FC Barcelona this month and five Premier League clubs, including Aston Villa, have expressed an interest in signing him on loan, according to ESPN sources.

Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian is working in collaboration with Barca to find a new home for the Brazil international, who wants to play regular football before the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Villa, coached by Coutinho’s former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard, are one of the clubs interested in signing the attacking midfielder.

A source close to Coutinho’s camp added that talks with all interested parties are still at a very early stage and that “no [club] is being ruled out at this stage.”

“It’s all to do with the football project more than anything else,” the source added.

Another source revealed that Everton are one of the clubs who have held talks over a deal for Coutinho, who spent five years at their Merseyside rivals Liverpool before joining Barca for a club record €160 million fee in 2018.

However, there is an internal debate at Goodison Park, with owner Farhad Moshiri keen on doing a deal for Coutinho, while coach Rafa Benitez is not yet on board.

Coutinho became Barca’s club-record signing four years ago but has struggled to make a mark at Camp Nou. He was given a second chance under Ronald Koeman following a loan spell with Bayern Munich but has once again fallen down the pecking order under new coach Xavi Hernandez.

Barca are ready to facilitate a loan deal as they need to move players on to register new signing Ferran Torres and any other potential January arrivals and Coutinho, as the club’s biggest earner, is one player they’re seeking a new home for.

Coutinho himself has previously been reluctant to leave but with the World Cup around the corner he wants to ensure he does not miss out on the Brazil squad for the finals in Qatar.

James Rodriguez Joins Qatari Side Al Rayyan

James Rodriguez is headed to the Middle East…

The 30-year-old Colombian professional footballer and Everton midfielder has joined Qatari side Al Rayyan for an undisclosed fee, both clubs have confirmed.

James Rodríguez

Sources previously told ESPN that Rodriguez was discussing a move with the Qatari club after Everton gave him permission to leave Goodison Park. He was told by manager Rafa Benitez, who replaced Carlo Ancelotti this summer, that he was not in his plans.

The midfielder made an impressive start after he joined from Real Madrid in September 2020, scoring three goals in his first five games, but injury and loss of form saw his contribution diminish markedly in the second half of the season.

He made a total of 26 appearances in all competitions during his time at the club.

Rodriguez began his career at Colombian side Enviagado and later Argentine side Banfield before enjoying spells at FC PortoAS MonacoMadrid and Bayern Munich.

He said in April that he only joined Everton so he could be reunited with Ancelotti, who had signed him for Madrid in 2014 and Bayern in 2017.

Everton had the option of extending his contract at the end of the season if he were to make enough first team appearances, but sources told ESPN that the club were keen to move his £10 million-a-year salary off the club’s wage bill.

His last appearance for the Premier League side came in a 1-0 defeat at home to Sheffield United in May.

Rodriguez has 80 international caps for Colombia, scoring 23 goals, and played in two World Cup tournaments, notably winning the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Real Madrid’s Navas Sets La Liga Clean Sheet Record

Keylor Navas is a perfect No. 10 in the La Liga record books…

The 28-year-old Costa Rican soccer player has broken a club record for clean sheets at the start of a season, after racking up a fourth consecutive clean sheet in La Liga and fifth in a row in all competitions with his clean sheet in Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Granada on Saturday.

Keylor Navas

Navas is the tenth goalkeeper in La Liga’s 86-year history to record such a streak at the beginning of the campaign.

The fifth straight shutout since the start of 2015-16 betters former Real Madrid keeper Miguel Angel‘s sequence of four on the spin at the beginning of the 1975-76 campaign.

“It was a difficult night for me at the end of the transfer market but that is now in the past,” Navas told reporters.

“Now I am thinking of the present and the coach [Rafa Benitez] believes in me. I have had the chance to stay and I will give my best. I am very grateful to the Real fans for their support which is not easy to earn.”

Marca reports that Navas is now just 10 minutes away from bettering Iker Casillas‘ personal best without conceding a goal, after the Spaniard went 460 minutes without being beaten in 2008-09.

Before Navas, Claudio Bravo was the last man to join the exclusive club of keepers to have remained unbeaten four weeks into the La Liga season, with the Chilean settling quickly into life at Barça last term. Real Madrid’s only other member of this hall of fame is Miguel Ángel, who didn’t concede in any of his first four league appearances in 1975-76.

Navas’ streak has put him in the esteemed company of Barça legends Salvador Sadurní (1968-69), the first to achieve the feat, and Pello Artola (1977-78); Atlético Madrid great Abel Resino (1991-92); Deportivo‘s Paco Liaño (1993-94); Real Sociedad‘s José Ramón Esnaola (1970-71); Celta Vigo‘s Pablo Cavallero (2001-02), Zaragoza‘s Manolo Villanova (1972-73) and Compostela‘s Javier Falagán (1995-96).

Chelsea Interested in a Deal with Higuain

It looks like Gonzalo Higuain is on-demand…

The 25-year-old France-born Argentine pro soccer player has been tipped to leave the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, as he continues to be linked to several clubs in Europe.

Gonzalo Higuain

In fact, Higuain has been quoted as saying that Chelsea is also interested in a deal, having played under Mourinho at Real.

“Mourinho wants me there,” Higuain is quoted as saying.

At the end of last term Higuain was tapped to join Juventus but when that move broke down he made it clear that he had made his mind up to leave Madrid.

That led to Arsenal being strongly linked to a move, while Rafa Benitez‘s Napoli have also been associated with viewing the forward as a replacement for Edinson Cavani.

With Madrid unwilling to let their star go on the cheap, the Spanish giants put a €40million price tag on his head and that is well within Chelsea’s spending budget.

AS add that while Mourinho has stated his admiration for Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, and insisted he is Chelsea’s only summer transfer target, that is a smokescreen to reveal that he wants to strengthen his front line at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho is a big fan of Higuain and used him as a regular striker during his three years as head coach at Real Madrid.