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Potential ‘transfer battle’ between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur for Philippe Coutinho — report

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Is London the Barcelona man’s next destination?

Bayern Muenchen v Tottenham Hotspur: Group B - UEFA Champions League Photo by Lukasz Laskowski/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

While Chelsea have been leading the Philippe Coutinho rumour-race, there are other clubs in the running as well.

Leicester City have been rumored to be interested in the midfielder’s services, and now it appears that Chelsea’s sworn-enemies cross-town rivals, Tottenham Hotspurs too have joined the fray, as per a report from the Mirror.

Spurs’ interest in the 27-year-old is nothing new. Last summer, they had made an unsuccessful attempt to land him to replace want-away Christian Eriksen. Erikson’s now gone, but with a replacement still not signed, Spurs’ interest makes a lot of sense.

From a Barcelona perspective, they want to offload Coutinho permanently and therefore want to include a mandatory buy-option in any loan deal. They don’t want someone else to “pull a Bayern Munich”, where Coutinho is taken in order to temporarily fix a position of need, before being returned with one year less on his Blaugrana contract.

Tottenham are apparently willing to agree to that provision, unlike Chelsea who want any buy-option to be actually optional.

While that does put Spurs at an advantage, their finances have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they became the second Premier League team to furlough their non-playing staff this week, and have not reversed course like Liverpool despite the public pressure.

Other than Tottenham, PSG have also been mooted as a possible future destination for Philippe Coutinho, perhaps as part of a deal that could see Neymar return to Barcelona, a club in sudden and absolute disarray.