Rumour Has It: Barcelona offer Coutinho, Rakitic plus cash for Neymar

By Sports Desk July 17, 2019

Barcelona are making moves to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou, but they have work to do.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this close season, having told the Ligue 1 champions of his desire for a Parc des Princes exit.

It comes just two years after his world-record €222million move from Barcelona, who are taking steps to bring the Brazil star back.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA OFFER COUTINHO, RAKITIC PLUS €40M FOR NEYMAR

Barcelona have verbally offered Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic, plus €40m, to PSG for Neymar, according to L'Equipe.

The report says PSG are standing firm over Neymar, having paid €222m for the superstar forward two years ago.

There have been contrasting reports about Barca's offer, with others saying it was Ousmane Dembele, not Rakitic, included as part of the deal.

ROUND-UP

- Romelu Lukaku's possible switch from Manchester United to Inter has moved slowly, but the Serie A outfit could be getting closer. According to The Sun, Inter will tell United they will meet their €83m (£75m) asking price if the deal includes bonus payments.

- Atletico Madrid are well and truly rebuilding and their latest addition looks set to be Kieran Trippier. AS say the Tottenham right-back could soon complete a €30m (£27.1m) move to Atletico, while Spurs have enquired about Angel Correa in a potential deal.

- Arsenal have had a quiet close season, but they are still chasing Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos. According to AS, Ceballos is set to join the Premier League outfit on a one-season loan deal.

- Daniele De Rossi was apparently contemplating retirement, but the Roma great could instead be set for a surprise move. Sky Sport say De Rossi is set to accept a short-term deal with Boca Juniors.

- Napoli are struggling to agree a deal with Real Madrid for James Rodriguez and they may turn their attentions to Nicolas Pepe. The Lille forward has been linked with numerous clubs this close season and Gianluca Di Marzio reports Napoli could move for the Ivory Coast international.

- Barcelona are extremely interested in signing Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo, according to Marca. The Spain youth international has reportedly been a target for Liverpool and Manchester United, but Barca are looking at negotiating with Betis over a €50m release clause.

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  • Coutinho 'a worthy successor' to Robben's No.10 shirt at Bayern Coutinho 'a worthy successor' to Robben's No.10 shirt at Bayern

    Bayern Munich asked retired Arjen Robben for permission before giving new signing Philippe Coutinho his old No.10 shirt and club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes the Brazilian is a worthy successor.

    After a difficult 18-month spell with Barcelona, Coutinho completed a season-long loan move to Bayern on Monday, with the German champions able to make the switch permanent for €120million.

    Bayern have been undertaking something of a rebuild in recent months, with various older players being moved on or retiring.

    Chief among those are Franck Ribery and Robben, with the latter opting to hang up his boots after a 10-year spell at the club that saw him win 20 trophies.

    Given their respective contributions to Bayern, Rummenigge confirmed they intended to leave the No.7 and No.10 jerseys unoccupied, but Robben gave permission for Coutinho to take his.

    When asked about where Coutinho will play, Rummenigge told a news conference: "Hasan [Salihamidzic, sporting director] and Niko [Kovac, coach] have already agreed on all the tactical variants, and Hasan had a talk with Arjen Robben this morning.

    "We did not want to give his number away for the time being, as a special gesture, but we also wanted to show how important and valuable this is.

    "It was also a very important sign for Philippe that the club is also fully behind him, so Arjen has no problem at all, he wishes him all the best, and he is a more than worthy successor."

    Coutinho could make his Bayern debut on Saturday when they travel to Gelsenkirchen to face Schalke in the Bundesliga.

  • Coutinho to Bayern Munich: Elber, Lucio and the club's best Brazilians Coutinho to Bayern Munich: Elber, Lucio and the club's best Brazilians

    Three months on from Rafinha's emotional farewell, there is a Brazilian back at Bayern Munich.

    Thiago Alcantara, a Spain international born to Brazilian parents, had been the club's lone ongoing link to the country until Philippe Coutinho formally arrived from Barcelona on Monday.

    The Vasco de Gama product has a lot to live up to Allianz Arena, where many of his compatriots have shone in the past.

    An option for Bayern to buy the attacking midfielder on a permanent basis hints at a bright future in Bavaria, but can he emulate the likes of these former favourites?

     

    Giovane Elber

    The only non-European member of the club's hall of fame was a human highlight reel throughout his six excellent seasons.

    Signed from Stuttgart in 1997, the 'Samba Striker' wrote his name into the annals by forging an entertaining and prolific partnership with target man Carsten Jancker.

    Elber scored the bulk of goals - 140 of them in all competitions - to help deliver four Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokal triumphs and a Champions League crown in 2001.

    The fringe Selecao forward signed off with a league-high 21 goals in his final season in Germany before joining Lyon in 2003.

     

    Ze Roberto

    Versatile, reliable, valuable.

    Ze Roberto favoured function over flair as he rivalled Elber's longevity in Bavaria and won as many Bundesliga titles.

    Three were secured in the four years after his switch from Bayer Leverkusen, but a change in direction under Felix Magath led to a divorce between player and club.

    Magath soon made way and Ze Roberto returned from South America on a two-season loan deal that showcased his development into an intelligent, crafty, goal-scoring central midfielder.

     

    Paulo Sergio

    Elber's success prompted the German giants to invest in another Brazilian attacker and together they exacted European revenge on Manchester United.

    In the second of his three seasons at Bayern, striker Sergio netted a vital late winner in a 1-0 first-leg triumph at Old Trafford in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2001.

    Elber then found the net in a 2-1 victory in the return encounter to help confirm the club's progression en route to continental glory.

    Though the goals dried up after a fine first season, former Roma man Sergio continued to trouble United as he put another past Alex Ferguson's men less than a year on from their previous meeting.

    Lucio

    Like Sergio and Ze Roberto before him, Lucio cut his teeth in the Bundesliga at Bayern's rivals Leverkusen.

    The elegant centre-back traded up in 2004 and stayed for five years, winning three domestic doubles in that time.

    Lucio attracted as much acclaim for his ability to carry the ball forward as his faultless defending and scored seven goals in 144 top-flight appearances during his stay.

    Spells at Inter, Juventus and Sao Paulo followed for the 2002 World Cup winner, who continues to play in his homeland aged 41.

     

    Dante

    Schooled in the same ball-playing style as Lucio, defender Dante squeezed an incredible amount of silverware into three seasons under Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola.

    The left-footer won the treble in his first campaign at the club and barely veered from that level, lifting the Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup to go with another two Bundesliga titles.

    A cult figure wherever he goes, the afroed ex-Borussia Monchengladbach player left Bayern with a full trophy cabinet when he moved to Wolfsburg in 2015.

     

    Rafinha

    "He was always there when the team needed him," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said as Rafinha said goodbye to the club in May.

    At right-back or left, as Philipp Lahm's understudy or Joshua Kimmich's mentor, Rafinha found ways to make himself useful.

    He might only have won four caps for Brazil but the diminutive and adaptable defender was a big contributor at club level, making 266 appearances during a Bayern career spanning eight seasons.

    Seven successive titles cemented a rich legacy.

  • Coutinho accepts Barcelona spell 'didn't work out' as hoped Coutinho accepts Barcelona spell 'didn't work out' as hoped

    Philippe Coutinho accepts his time at Barcelona "didn't work out" the way he had hoped after he completed a loan move to Bayern Munich on Monday.

    Coutinho joined Barca from Liverpool in January 2018 in a deal potentially worth a reported €160million and things began promisingly, as he scored eight goals in his first 18 LaLiga games.

    However, he struggled for consistency and failed to hold down a spot in the starting XI last season, playing only 22 matches from the beginning.

    Coutinho became a scapegoat for fans and came in for increased criticism – as did coach Ernesto Valverde and team-mate Ivan Rakitic – after Barca's Champions League semi-final exit to Liverpool, despite them winning the first leg 3-0.

    The Brazil international had been suggested as a potential makeweight in a deal to take Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain back to Camp Nou, but Bayern secured his loan signing with a €120m purchase option.

    Coutinho acknowledges things could have gone better in LaLiga but insists he is excited to be joining the German champions.

    "Concerning Barcelona, things didn't work out the way we wanted," Coutinho told reporters at his Bayern presentation.

    "But that's the past. This is a new club, a big club, an important club. I hope I'll be here for a long time and win lots of titles."

    Despite the difficulties Coutinho had at Barca, he is adamant it was not all a negative experience – though he had no doubts about leaving for Bayern.

    "Within those years I did have great experiences," he said. "I learnt a lot, won a lot with that club and then we had the Copa America, which I won with Brazil and that was really important.

    "Now I have a chance at a new club, a big club. I didn't have any doubts when Hasan [Salihamidzic, Bayern sporting director] called me.

    "He really wanted me to come here, so they flew to Barcelona, we met, they showed me the project and that's why I really want to thank them, because from the first second [it was clear] how they see me. That was important for me to see."

    Coutinho could make his debut away to Schalke on Saturday.

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