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Coutinho's agent 'holds crunch talks' with Barcelona amid transfer speculation

  /  autty

Philippe Coutinho’s agent has met with Barcelona chiefs for discussions over the Brazilian’s future at Camp Nou.

Coutinho’s future in Catalunya remains in question, despite his arrival - just 15 months ago - as the club’s most expensive signing.

The former Liverpool star was initially signed to be the long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta, but boss Ernesto Valverde was left unconvinced by his displays in a midfield role.

As such, Coutinho has largely been used on the left side of attack, as support for Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, this term.

But Ousmane Dembele has impressed in that role too, meaning Coutinho has often found himself outside of Valverde’s preferred starting XI.

Coutinho is keen to have a bigger role in the side next season, but Valverde prefers the pace of Dembele alongside Suarez and Messi, as well as Arthur in midfield with Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic; then, there is also the incoming Frenkie de Jong.

As such, El Confidencial reports that talks were held as Coutinho's representative, Kia Joorabchian, attempted to find out the club's plans for the ex-Reds playmaker.

The meeting was also used to make clear the player's issues with how he is being uses and how he feels at the club.

Chelsea have been mooted as a potential destination, with Coutinho acting as a replacement for Eden Hazard should he join Real Madrid .

But that is provided the Blues' transfer ban, enforced by FIFA, is delayed; Chelsea have lodged an appeal with the FIFA Appeals Committee.

With Barca having sanctioned the £75million arrival of De Jong, and also keen on his £70million-rated Ajax teammate Matthijs de Ligt, the Spanish champions do need to bring in funds this summer also.

And their most likely source of major funds are Coutinho and France's World Cup winning-defender Samuel Umtiti.