6 Potential Replacements for Philippe Coutinho if Barcelona Cut Their Losses This Summer

?Even as a youngster, it seemed it was Philippe Coutinho’s destiny to play for Barcelona. He achieved that dream in January 2018, but things have not gone to plan. Not at all.

The Brazilian looks a shell of the man who terrorised Premier League defences with Liverpool, and now there’s talk of the Blaugrana cutting their ties with a man who has hindered the team more often than he has helped.

His departure would likely create a fresh transfer merry-go-round, and here are six players who could replace Coutinho at Barcelona.


Ousmane Dembele

Why replace Coutinho when you already have a £136m man ready to take over? ?Ousmane Dembele has looked like the player ?Barcelona wished Coutinho was, but the Frenchman has been forced to rotate with Coutinho as Ernesto Valverde has given both every chance to impress.

Ousmane Dembele

The decision seems simple. Move on from Coutinho, and give Dembele twice as many starts to compensate. He already has 14 goals and eight assists this year and, at 21, the sky really is the limit for the former ?Borussia Dortmund man.

Malcom is a capable deputy, whilst ?Rafinha should be ready and fit to start the new season. However, if they do want to make another huge signing, there are no shortage of options…


Antoine Griezmann

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No need to check your calendars, it is 2019 and Antoine Griezmann is once again nearing the exit door of the Wanda Metropolitano. The Frenchman put to bed any talk of a move to Barcelona by signing a new contract last summer, but that seems to mean little anymore.

Antoine Griezmann

The World Cup winner is still widely regarded as one of Europe’s top forwards, but it appears he has grown frustrated with life with ?Atletico Madrid and their failure to win regular silverware. A move to Barcelona would certainly give Griezmann what he wants.

Comfortable as both a central striker and in a wide or supporting role, Griezmann would offer Barcelona some much-needed versatility in attack. If he’s available (and it looks like he will be), they should move for him.


Paulo Dybala

The heir to ?Lionel Messi’s throne with the Argentina national team could also be the man to fill his shoes at the Camp Nou. At this stage of 2018, ?Paulo Dybala’s exit from the Allianz Stadium seemed unfathomable but, with the arrival of ?Cristiano Ronaldo, Dybala’s future seems up in the air.

Paulo Dybala

He’s struggled to be at his best alongside the superstar forward, netting just four ?Serie A goals in 25 outings. As a result, he has found himself linked with a move away, with the likes of ?Liverpool and ?Inter said to be keen. However, unless they have an alternative lined up, there is simply no way Barcelona should allow him to pass them by.

The on-field relationship between Dybala and Messi has come into question in the past, but the two are both supremely talented footballers. They can certainly make it work, and the results could be stunning.


Sadio Mane

Perhaps Barcelona signed the wrong ?Liverpool star? ?Sadio Mane has been in breathtaking form for Liverpool this season, helping to draw attention away from ?Mohamed Salah. He already has 20 goals this season, which is the kind of form that could get him a move to the Camp Nou.

Sadio Mane

Mane is a left-sided player, and would feel right at home on that side of Barcelona’s lineup. He is also comfortable both centrally and on the right, which will only make him more appealing to the Blaugrana.

Whilst a potential Mane-Coutinho swap deal is unlikely, it will always be rumoured until the day it is no longer physically possible. The Senegal international is the kind of star Barcelona need, and they should look to lure him away from Anfield.


Son Heung-min

Few players know how to make an impact from the left wing quite like ?Son Heung-min. The ?Tottenham Hotspur man has been in typically excellent form this season, but is again facing the prospect of finishing a season without any silverware.

Son Heung-Min

Nobody at the club seems safe from an exit, from Mauricio Pochettino to ?Harry Kane. There is a growing fear amongst supporters that something simply is not right at the club. They have been trending in the right direction, but have again failed to answer the majority of their critics.

A big-money move to the Camp Nou could be too good to turn down for Son, who could leap at the opportunity to join a side who know what it takes to win trophy after trophy.


Felipe Anderson

Felipe Anderson spent many years starring on the right of Lazio’s attack, but looks to be a completely new animal as ?West Ham United’s left winger. The 25-year-old has been in excellent form all season, racking up nine goals and five assists all season, but the Hammers remain lost in mid-table obscurity.

Felipe Anderson

Despite his obvious talent, Anderson is yet to experience life in the ?Champions League.? He is unlikely to achieve that with West Ham, who look to be struggling to qualify for the Europa League this year, but he certainly looks like a player who should be featuring on Europe’s grandest stage.

His speed and creativity would fit seamlessly into Barcelona’s forward line, and Valverde should recognise that. If they lodged a sizeable offer, West Ham would likely be powerless to prevent Anderson pursuing the move.

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Barcelona Oppose Radical Champions League Remodel to Avoid ‘Killing’ La Liga

Barcelona have joined forces with the top Premier League clubs in opposing UEFA’s new proposed Champions League revamp, fearing that European matches on weekends would ‘kill’ domestic football.

UEFA met with representatives from Europe’s major clubs in Nyon, Switzerland, on Tuesday for a brainstorming session on potential Champions League alterations following the 2024 season.

The new ideas include replacing the current qualification process with a simpler promotion and relegation format as well as playing matches on weekends, at least from the quarter-final stage onwards.

Premier League sides present at the meetings were said to be decidedly unhappy with these proposals, fearing that the format changes would compromise the lucrative television contracts that have funded the league’s growing wealth.

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According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have now aligned themselves with the Premier League clubs as they look to protect their own domestic interests.

Despite the immediate negative reception, talks still appear to be at a very early stage with a Barcelona spokesperson saying: “This is the first of a series of meetings between the parties in the coming months, to allow for a detailed and adequate consultation with the objective of elaborating concrete proposals that can be considered and analysed properly before making any decision.”

Resistance against the proposed Champions League changes has thus far formalised into a document of condemnation submitted to UEFA, and signed by members of the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga.

Lionel Messi

However, UEFA’s new plans are already threatening to spark an extensive and wide-ranging European football conflict as other top clubs including Juventus and PSG support the format changes due to the lack of competition and global interest in their domestic campaigns.

Barcelona, who last won the Champions League in 2015, are still hoping to emerge victorious from this year’s competition as they face Manchester United in the quarter-finals after defeating Lyon 5-1 on aggregate in the round of 16.

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Arturo Vidal in Doubt for Chile vs Mexio After Visa Issues Delay Barcelona Ace’s Entry to USA

?Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal could miss Chile’s friendly match against Mexico on Friday, after being denied entry to the United States due to visa issues.

Chile are set to take on El Tri in San Diego at the end of the week, before travelling to Texas to face the USA next Tuesday. Reinaldo Rueda’s side failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but will be looking to bounce back with a couple of good results, ahead of their Copa América campaign in the summer.

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According to Chilean outlet 24 Horas, via Sport, Vidal recently altered his passport, which saw his visa blocked when attempting to enter the United States. While this issue is not deemed to be too problematic, it isn’t likely to be resolved until Thursday – which gives him no time to train with his teammates ahead of Friday’s match.

Given Vidal’s invaluable experience – he has over 100 caps for his country – he’ll be a massive loss for La Roja, and Rueda might just be tempted to throw the veteran midfielder into the fray on Friday despite a possible lack of training. Alongside the 31-year-old, other stars in the squad include Bayer Leverkusen’s Charles Aránguiz and defensive stalwart Gary Medel, who plays for Be?ikta?.


On the domestic front, Vidal has been in fine form for ?Barcelona this season, and has played an important role in their dominance of ?La Liga this season. Arriving from ?Bayern Munich in the summer, the robust tackler has been a ferocious presence in the Catalan giants’ midfield, and gives them some much needed grit to complement their trademark flair.

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In other news, ?Barcelona are believed to have missed out on Atlético Madrid ace Saul Ñiguez, as ?Manchester City are now the frontrunners to sign the 24-year-old. The player’s representatives have publicly stated that their client intends to leave in the summer, and could cost the Citizens around €80m.

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Real Madrid Linked With Adrien Rabiot as Midfielder’s Agent Insists He Is a ‘Prisoner’ at PSG

?Paris Saint-Germain outcast Adrien Rabiot has been linked with an astounding move to Real Madrid once his contract with the Parisian club expires at the end of the season.

Rabiot, 23, has seen his relationship sour with PSG this season after publicly voicing his intentions to leave the French club once his contract expires in June, with the midfielder seemingly attracting the interest of a number of Europe’s top sides.

And according to L’Equipe (via GFFN), Adrien Rabiot’s mother/agent has stated that her son is a ‘prisoner’ at the club. 

The latest addition to that ever-lengthening list appears to be ?Real Madrid, with Spanish media outlet ?OKDiario reporting that Los Blancos are keen to bring the Frenchman to the Santiago Bernabeu. 

The article claims that the French international is viewed as a short-term replacement for ?Luka Modric, as the club want a player with similar characteristics of the 34-year-old Ballon d’Or winner, although isn’t a move that would displace the Croatian initially, due to Rabiot’s versatility to play in a number of positions across midfield. 

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While Rabiot would be a free agent – meaning Real Madrid wouldn’t have to pay a transfer fee for the midfielder – it’s believed that the player wants a signing-on fee in the region of €15m to join the 13-time Champions League winners.

Rabiot was close to joining Real’s bitter rivals ?Barcelona earlier this season, with personal terms thought to have been agreed, before the Catalan side seemingly pulled the plug on the deal and instead announced the singing of Ajax starlet Frenkie de Jong, who will complete his move to the Nou Camp this summer. 

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It’s been a strange season for Rabiot, who after initially being a key part to Thomas Tuchel’s PSG side earlier in the campaign, has been on the periphery of things at the Parc des Princes since making his intentions to leave the club clear, with his last appearance coming in a 1-1 draw against Strasbourg in early December. 

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Antoine Griezmann: 6 Elite Clubs Who Must Sign the Forward if He Leaves Atletico Madrid This Summer

Antoine Griezmann reportedly wants to leave Atletico Madrid this summer, less than a year after famously deciding to stay put last June.

A player of his quality, who has scored at least 25 goals in each of the last four full seasons, won the World Cup and twice finished third in the Ballon d’Or will have no shortage of suitors if he really is about to become available on the transfer market.

Here’s a look at six top teams who must try and sign him…


?Internazionale

Mauro Icardi

Depending on what happens with Mauro Icardi, who has been stripped of the club captaincy and hasn’t played since early February because of a contentious knee injury, Inter could find themselves needing a new attacking talisman ahead of next season.

Selling Icardi would raise significant funds and with Inter set to improve to third in Serie A and seemingly on an upward trajectory, it may be a project worth considering for Griezmann.


Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski,Arjen Robben,Franck Ribery

Bayern Munich will bid farewell to veteran heroes Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery at the end of the season, with James Rodriguez not tipped to stay beyond his loan deal. It means there will be a serious need for fresh attacking impetus at the Allianz Arena.

Griezmann could be the perfect summer addition for a club that has had a wakeup call, both at home and abroad, this season, potentially ushering in a new era of success.


Paris Saint-Germain

Red Star Belgrade v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Group C

Paris Saint-Germain could well look to Griezmann in the event that they lose Neymar this summer, with the Brazilian superstar a reported €350m world record target for Real Madrid.

Should that actually happen, PSG would need a replacement and would have the money to make it happen. Griezmann, who has never played professionally in his home country, could also be the more reliable Champions League X-factor the club has long been waiting for.


Barcelona

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Barcelona were infamously snubbed by Griezmann last summer when he made ‘The Decision’ to stay with Atletico. Reports suggest that the Catalans, who were made to look foolish by the whole saga, won’t entertain going back in for him, but perhaps they can’t afford not to.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez continue to score the bulk of Barça’s goals and it won’t last forever, with the former due to turn 32 years of age in June and latter already there. The attacking unit at Camp Nou therefore needs an injection of slightly younger blood.


Manchester United

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Manchester United wanted Griezmann in 2017 before he pledged himself to Atletico in light of their transfer ban. That interest has never really picked up again since, but the failure of Alexis Sanchez at Old Trafford is reason to think the club would still have a need.

As a second striker, Griezmann could prove to be the creative link player that United have been lacking, while his personal friendship with Paul Pogba is already a big plus point.


Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid will find it hard to sign number one target Neymar this summer. If that ambitious venture fails, then they too could become one of the clubs interested in Griezmann.

Real are set to make numerous changes at the end of the season after a disastrous 2018/19 campaign and could do a lot worse than focus on a player who is already a proven goalscorer in La Liga and at the highest level in Europe.


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Bayern Munich Race Ahead of Arsenal in Race to Sign Prolific Lille Striker Nicolas Pepe

?Bayern Munich appear to be close to securing the signing of Lille striker Nicolas Pepe, according to recent reports.

Pepe has been in sublime form for Lille so far this season, registering 18 goals and 11 assists in all competitions and, as a result, has become a top transfer target for a host of sides across Europe. 

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It was reported that ?Bayern Munich had ?’opened talks’ with Lille last week and now, according to ?Sport, it appears that the Bavarians are drawing closer to confirming the signing.

Bayern delegate Laurent Busser has been watching Pepe live over the past few months but, as Lille look set to qualify for the Champions League, his transfer value is only likely to increase over the coming months – which could pose an issue for Bayern.

As a result, Sport claim that Bayern are looking to secure a deal as soon as possible to prevent Lille from continually raising the Ivorian’s transfer value and because the likes of ?Barcelona and Arsenal are also monitoring his progress.

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beIN Sports journalist ?Bel-Abbès Bouaissi has also claimed that Bayern have already submitted a huge transfer offer for Pepe in the region of 80m, adding that adidas also have a hand in the transaction.

Speaking about his future whilst on international duty with the Ivory Coast, Pepe has insisted that he is unsure of what the immediate future holds and that he is currently focused on finishing the season strongly with Lille.


“My representatives take care of my future, I am focused on Lille for the rest of the season,” Pepe told Canal, per Football Espana.

“My future league? I do not have a preference.”

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Why Asshole Griezmann Should Be the First Name on Every European Giant’s Summer Transfer Wishlist

?Antoine Griezmann, then. Player of the Tournament at Euro 2016, third best player at the 2018 World Cup, Player of the Year in La Liga for 2016, third in the Ballon d’Or voting twice in the last three years. World Cup winner. Europa League winner. UEFA Super Cup winner. 

It’s been a handy few years for the Frenchman. He moved from Real Sociedad almost five years ago, and has improved season on season since then. In that time, he’s been more or less the only attacking player to flourish in Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid setup, scoring at least 15 league goals (and 25 goals in all competitions) every single season since his arrival.

That would be great consistency for a leading striker. He isn’t that. Griezmann routinely plays as a second striker, drifting between midfield and attack to find his own gaps. At the start of his Atleti career, that role bled into some selfishness, the need to do the job all alone. No other ?Atletico Madrid player has hit 15 league goals or 25 overall goals once since he arrived, and some of the blame fell on the Frenchman for that. 

It’s a lot harder to place that blame on him now that he’s led the team in assists for the last three seasons. It’s even harder to see that when you actually watch him play – charging around the pitch, tracking back, starting attacks in his own half and sacrificing himself for the team in a way that true superstar forwards rarely do. 

He’s not just the perfect player for Simeone’s Atleti now, he’s almost the perfect player full stop. If it wasn’t for Lionel Messi being ?Lionel Messi, he’d be the premiere player in La Liga and it wouldn’t be close. 

He’s also kind of an asshole. 

For all that he’s selfless with his work rate on the pitch, Griezmann has managed to create more contract drama around himself in the last 12 months than Messi and Ronaldo combined – and one of those two actually moved. He put out vague tweets, he filmed an entire documentary to announce that he was…staying at Atleti this last summer. 

Now he’s considering a move. Again. 

Thing is, despite being a World Cup winner and European championship semi-finalist, Griezmann turns 28 on Thursday and the only league title he’s won was in the Segunda Division. He’s been the best player for the world’s best team in their last two tournaments, but he’s never won the Champions League. He’s taken Atletico Madrid as far as he can, but they just won’t allow themselves to be carried over the hump. 

He lost some good will from Atleti fans with his antics in the summer, almost holding the club hostage and getting a massive new contract in the bargain. That contract has a release clause which will drop to €120m in the summer and, for a player of his quality, any club who can remotely afford that will be looking very hard at making an offer – except ?Barcelona, who got burned by his rejection last summer.

Agitating for a move less than a year later is an asshole move. If Angel Correa pulled this, or ?Thomas Lemar, the answer would be simple. Boot in the backside, out the door, wave goodbye. 


That’s not an option when it comes to Griezmann. Jan Oblak, Diego Godin (who might be leaving this summer) and Jose Gimenez are the solid base of the team, Rodri, Saul and Koke all are brilliant supplementary pieces, but Griezmann is the crucial, beating heart. Atleti don’t work without him. 

It doesn’t matter if Antoine Griezmann is an asshole, because he’s brilliant. If the highest bid wins, pray to god it’s your club who makes it. 

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Barcelona Confirm Length of Luis Suarez’s Lay-Off Following Injury Against Real Betis

?FC Barcelona have revealed that striker Luis Suarez is set for up to 15 days on the sidelines following the ankle injury he sustained in the 4-1 victory over Real Betis on Sunday night. 

Suarez notched both a goal and an assist in the impressive win at the Benito Villamarin Stadium, before he was forced off in the 90th minute with the knock.


And, as revealed on the club’s official website, he is now set to miss the upcoming international break after a medical examination revealed a sprain to his right ankle.

In a statement, the club said: “Tests carried out on Monday morning have confirmed that first team player ?Luis Suárez has a sprained right ankle. He will be out for 10-15 days and now undertake his recovery with the FC Barcelona medical team, having been withdrawn from the Uruguayan national team squad.

“Suárez was taken off late on in the 1-4 win against Real Betis at the Benito Villamarín, having scored his side’s third goal and provided an assist for ?Leo Messi, and was replaced by Carles Aleñá.

Luis Suarez,Lionel Messi

“His goal was his 18th in ?La Liga this season, and he is the second top scorer in La Liga behind only Messi (29). It also took him level with Diego Forlán as the Uruguayan with the most goals in the division of all time, with 128.”

Barcelona’s statement has allayed early fears that the striker ?could miss the Champions League quarter final first leg with Manchester United on 10 April.

Following the comprehensive win at Betis, La Blaugrana now sit 10 points clear at the top of the table, after chasers Atletico Madrid stumbled to a 2-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

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Lionel Messi Admits Real Betis Fans Applauding Him for Hat-trick Goal Is a Career First

?Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has won trophy after trophy and set records galore during his illustrious career, but the Argentine icon managed a first this week after his hat-trick helped the Catalans hammer Real Betis to go 10 points clear at the top of La Liga.

Messi was applauded by Betis fans inside Estadio Benito Villamarín when he scored his hat-trick goal to make it 4-1, something the Barça captain said had never previously happened to him.

Real Betis Balompie v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Messi’s delightful chipped finish saw Betis supporters put football’s traditional automatic dislike of opposing players to one side and applaud the genius in front of them.

“I don’t remember being applauded by rival fans for a goal before,” ?he said afterwards.


The hat-trick was Messi’s fourth of this campaign and 33rd of his career to date.

The goals were his 37th, 38th and 39th of the season in all competitions, while his 21 assists means the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has already directly contributed to 60 goals in 2018/19.

Defeat for Atletico Madrid at the hands of mid-table Athletic Bilbao on Saturday also meant that Barça’s Messi-inspired win on Sunday sent the reigning champions 10 points clear at the top of the table and virtually certain to retain their title.


Another Spanish crown this season would be the 10th of Messi’s career, while Barça are also on course to win a fifth successive Copa del Rey and have a strong chance of going all the way in the Champions League for the first time since 2015.

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Twitter Reacts to Yet Another Lionel Messi Masterclass as Barcelona Dispatch Real Betis 4-1

Lionel Messi was in typically inspired form ?for Barcelona on Sunday evening, scoring a majestic hat-trick as La Blaugrana comfortably dispatched Real Betis 4-1.

The diminutive Argentinean rarely surprises anymore but, even by his ridiculously lofty standards, he played an absolute blinder and is no doubt going to be the source of Betis defenders’ nightmares for weeks to come.

Real Betis Balompie v FC Barcelona - La Liga

His first strike of the night was a gorgeous free-kick from long range that sailed into the top right hand corner, his second a cool finish after a majestic back heel assist from Luis Suarez and his third an utterly outrageous chip from the left hand corner of the 18-yard-box.

Social media was understandably in a frenzy after the match, lauding ?Messi with an abundance of praise.

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The hat-trick was the 51st of Messi’s career and, judging by the quality of all three goals, potentially one of his most impressive.

Plenty on Twitter also pointed out that Betis supporters gave the ?Barcelona talisman a standing ovation at the end of the match, highlighting just how impressive he was on the night.




The win was also significant for Messi, as it meant that he had surpassed the record set by Barcelona legend Xavi to become the player with the most wins in the club’s history.



And finally, whilst he was doing his very best to prove that he isn’t human, Messi did show that he isn’t always perfect when he struck an easy looking chance against the post from just six-yards out. There may be hope for the rest of La Liga just yet.


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