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Chelsea leading the race to sign Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona on loan

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Philippe Coutinho

Chelsea are understood to be leading the race to sign Philippe Coutinho on a temporary basis from Barcelona in the next transfer window, a report from The Express claims.

The Brazil international is presently out on loan with Bayern Munich where he has contributed nine goals and eight assists from 32 outings across all competitions.

In recent months, it has been reported that Bayern won’t trigger the £110m buy clause for Coutinho and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently confirmed that the option has already expired.

As per The Express, Coutinho prefers a return to the Premier League this summer after making a good impression during his six-year stint with Liverpool.

Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United have all been offered the player’s services but Chelsea are said to hold the advantage in the race to sign the Brazilian.

The Blaugrana have reduced their asking price to just £80m for the permanent sale of Coutinho but they are also willing to sanction his loan exit for another season.

The Blues are said to prefer the latter option and they are prepared to meet the Blaugrana’s £10m loan fee and pay the player’s £250,000-a-week wages in full.

Mason Mount has been the Blues’ regular in the number 10 position and he has bagged six goals and five assists across all competitions in his debut campaign with the senior squad.

Still, Lampard would want more competition in the role and he would surely be tempted to add the experience of Coutinho in the club’s ranks ahead of next season.

Coutinho has been inconsistent with his displays over the course of 90 minutes at Bayern and Barcelona but a return to the Premier League could bring the best out of him.

Aside from his preferred attacking midfield role, Coutinho can slot into the wide positions if required and his versatility would provide another boost for the west London side.

Coutinho is presently training individually following his minor ankle operation but he could take part for Bayern during the closing stages of the Bundesliga season.

It is still unclear whether Bayern will extend the Brazilian’s contract beyond June 30 such that he could be involved in the club’s Champions League campaign.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com

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