Thursday, November 30, 2017

Barcelona make Willian back-up target if they fail to sign Philippe Coutinho in January

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Barcelona make Willian back-up target if they fail to sign Philippe Coutinho in January

BARCELONA are ready to switch their attention to Chelsea star Willian if they fail with another attempt to sign Philippe Coutinho.

The Spanish giants are desperate to clinch the signing of the Liverpool star when the transfer window opens at the start of January.

Barcelona could switch their attentions to Chelsea midfielder WillianBarcelona could switch their attentions to Chelsea midfielder WillianGetty Images - Getty

Barca saw three bids knocked back at Anfield despite Coutinho putting in a transfer request and asking to make the move to Spain.

The La Liga club’s interest remains and they are expected to come back with another bid for the playmaker when the window opens at the start of the new year.

But Goal claim they have decided to turn to the star’s Brazilian team-mate Willian if they again find Liverpool to hard to break down.

Having lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in a £196million move last summer, Barca have cash to burn in the transfer market.

Barca are expected to renew their bid to sign Philippe Coutinho in JanuaryBarca are expected to renew their bid to sign Philippe Coutinho in JanuaryAFP

And CEO Oscar Grau says the board are prepared to make a concerted effort to make a big signing in January,

Grau said: “We are ready to buy Coutinho in the winter market, or any player the technical staff request.”

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Coutinho remains the clear first choice at Barca, but they approach the window realistic that Liverpool have no intention of selling their star player.

That is why it is claimed they have looked at other options, with Willian a surprise name near the top of the list.

Willian celebrates his goal against Liverpool - but he is not always a regular in the starting line-up at ChelseaWillian celebrates his goal against Liverpool – but he is not always a regular in the starting line-up at ChelseaPA:Press Association

The 29-year-old has a contract at Chelsea until 2020, but he is not always a regular starter in Antonio Conte’s side.

He is represented by Giuliano Bertolucci, the same agent who looks after Coutinho and also took Paulinho to the Nou Camp from China last summer.

Though Chelsea have no major plans to sell Willian in mid-season, if a big enough offer came in they could be willing to listen.

They know the midfielder is approaching the end of the peak of his career, and if they could find someone to replace him a deal could be struck.

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