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From missing out on league title last season to losing their manager Luis Enrique, not much has gone right in 2017 for Catalan giants Barcelona and it only seems to be getting worse for them this summer. They have replaced Luis Enrique with the respected former-Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde but they have now lost one of their most important players in a mind-boggling deal this summer.
Barcelona terminated Brazilian super star Neymar Jr’s contract with the club, and sanctioned a €222m move to French giants PSG in a deal that has basically shook the footballing world. This will leave a glaring hole on the left-hand side of the attack for the Spanish side this season.
They are already looking at alternatives, with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe and Paulo Dybala all linked with a move to the Camp Nou but two Premier League players, who could well be on their way to the Catalan capital this summer is Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.
Liverpool’s Brazilian playmaker is on the top of the wish-list for the La Liga outfit but they recently saw a £90m bid rejected for his services. Barcelona are expected to return with an improved £120m bid in the upcoming days but for more reasons than one, his Arsenal competitor seems to be a better choice.
Coutinho is still 25 and is inexperienced in Europe. He is only establishing himself as one of the best in Europe and needs atleast a couple of seasons before he lands in the brackets of the likes of Neymar, Luis Suarez and even Alexis Sanchez himself. And on top of it, Liverpool are adamant and do not want to sell him. They will squeeze most of the Neymar money from Barcelona to let go of their prized possession in a summer where they are getting ready for Champions League football.
On the other hand, Sanchez, who was one of the most productive players in Europe last season, has just one year left on his contract and there’s a strong belief within the Arsenal camp now, that he wants to quit the Emirates this summer. Though Arsene Wenger still wants to keep him, Sanchez might be on the move if a bid of around £50m is placed, which should not be a problem for Barcelona.
Having already played alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta in the past, Sanchez will be an effective player from the first game and there are very few players in the transfer market, who can have such an impact straight away.
At 28, he may not be a long-term option like Coutinho but for his price, he will give Barcelona some time to choose their long-term heir for their departed Brazilian.
Do you think Barcelona should avoid signing Coutinho and lure this Chilean to the Camp Nou this summer?