Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has told Riqui Puig he should leave the club on loan.

Puig, 21, has been linked with a move from Barca, and played no part in Saturday's 1-0 Joan Gamper Trophy win over Elche at Camp Nou.

Koeman said while Puig was part of his plans, the midfielder should look for short-term opportunities elsewhere.

"I've told [Riqui Puig] that he has a future here, but it depends on the player," he said, via Marca.

"I'd recommend that he went out on loan.

"At 20 years of age, the young players have to play. They can't get stuck for a period of time.

"We've got three weeks and we've got competition."

Antoine Griezmann's early goal helped Barca past Elche, as the forward, Ansu Fati, Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho all started.

Coutinho is back from his loan spell at Bayern Munich and Koeman talked up the playmaker.

"Let's hope we can see a great version of him. For me, he's a great player," he said.

"He works well physically and with the ball. He's an important player for the team."

Barcelona will begin their LaLiga season against Villarreal on September 27.

Antoine Griezmann has finally got the Barcelona number seven shirt he wanted from the first day of his Camp Nou career, describing it as "an honour".

The former Atletico Madrid forward was denied his regular number when he arrived at Barcelona in July 2019, as it was held by Philippe Coutinho, and he agreed to wear the 17 shirt instead.

But with Coutinho having since gone on loan to Bayern Munich for last season, and with question marks over whether the winger will stay at Barcelona for the new campaign, the Brazilian has ceded the number to Griezmann.

On Instagram, Griezmann wrote: "It is an honour to wear the 7 at Barca!"

He added: "I want to say thank you to @phil.coutinho, who as well as being a great player is a big friend."

The number switch was announced by Barcelona on their social media accounts, with a video featuring Brooklyn Nets NBA star Kevin Durant opening a box containing Barcelona number seven shirts bearing his name and that of Griezmann.

 

Griezmann scored 15 goals in 41 games for Barcelona last season but often faced criticism for his performances as he struggled to make the greater contribution that many expected of him.

He has previously worn the number seven with Real Sociedad, Atletico Madrid and France, donning the number during their run to World Cup glory two years ago in Russia.

Barcelona's chances of landing Inter star Lautaro Martinez could reportedly become clearer this week.

The LaLiga giants remain interested in the Argentina forward, who scored 21 goals for Inter in 2019-20.

Just whether they can get a deal done, however, may become known this week.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA'S CHANCES OF SIGNING MARTINEZ SET TO BECOME CLEARER

Martinez's agents will meet with the leaders of Inter this week to assess his situation, according to Sport.

The report says Barcelona and Inter are in regular contact, but there is a big difference between the clubs.

It says Barca want to pay a maximum of €65million plus a player, while Inter are demanding a minimum of €85m.

Goal reports Barcelona are preparing a final offer for Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are seeking a forward with Luis Suarez set to leave. Goal claims Barca and Juventus are negotiating a fee for the 33-year-old Uruguayan, who is said to have agreed to a three-year deal with the Serie A champions.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Marca reports Philippe Coutinho is set to spend 2020-21 at Barca. Coutinho spent 2019-20 on loan at Bayern Munich but the LaLiga club have ruled out another loan move, the report says.

- A player set for a Barcelona exit is Arturo Vidal. Sport Mediaset says Vidal is expected in Milan soon as he prepares to join Inter, where he has agreed a two-year deal with an option for a third.

- Real Madrid, meanwhile, look set to keep Gareth Bale. Mundo Deportivo reports Madrid have not received an offer for Bale, who is contracted until 2022 but has been linked with a move away.

- With Ronald Koeman having left to take over at Barcelona, the Netherlands are looking for a new head coach. Voetbal International reports the players want Henk ten Cate to be the Netherlands' next coach.

- Watford forward Gerard Deulofeu is reportedly wanted by numerous European clubs. The Telegraph reports Milan, Napoli and Sevilla want Deulofeu on loan with an option to buy.

Philippe Coutinho trained with Barcelona for the first time since returning from his loan stint at Bayern Munich on Friday.

Bayern opted against activating a purchase option on Coutinho, who spent the 2019-20 season with the Bavarian giants after struggling to settle at Camp Nou following his reported €160million arrival in January 2018.

The Brazil international has consequently returned to Barca and began pre-season training with the team, despite being linked with a return to the Premier League at Chelsea or Arsenal.

Coutinho won the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League during his campaign with Bayern, scoring twice and assisting another goal in their 8-2 destruction of his parent club in Lisbon in August.

While he reported for Barca training under new boss Ronald Koeman, Lionel Messi is yet to return to duty as his future at Camp Nou remains up in the air.

Bayern Munich have paid tribute to the "outstanding" Philippe Coutinho as the Brazil international returns to Barcelona.

The 28-year-old joined on a season-long loan last August, with that deal extended to cover the final weeks of the season after the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Coutinho's time in Germany was hugely successful in terms of silverware, with Bayern winning the treble of Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League titles for the second time in their history.

Coutinho even came off the bench to score twice and assist another goal in the 8-2 quarter-final destruction of his parent club.

However, injury problems and the form of Bayern's other attacking players under Hansi Flick restricted Coutinho to just 15 starts in the Bundesliga and five in Europe.

"We would like to thank Philippe Coutinho very much. With his creativity and excellent technique, he has invigorated our game during this treble-winning season," Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement.

He added that Coutinho's impact against Barca "proved that it was a good decision to sign him on loan. We all wish Philippe the best for his career going forward".

Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said: "Unfortunately, he could not be used more often due to injuries and an operation, but he can be rightly proud of his contribution to the treble, especially in the Champions League finals tournament in Lisbon.

"Even though FC Bayern and Philippe Coutinho are parting ways after just one season, his commitment in Munich has made it clear what an outstanding player he is."

Coutinho has been linked with a return to the Premier League, with Arsenal and Chelsea said to hold an interest in the ex-Liverpool player.

However, he could stay at Barca for 2020-21 should new head coach Ronald Koeman consider him important to his plans.

Manchester City are reportedly looking at signing Lionel Messi, while Barcelona's rebuild does not include Luis Suarez.

Messi, 33, has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants after a trophy-less 2019-20 season.

Barca are preparing for a rebuild and while Messi is part of their plans, Suarez is seemingly not.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY CONSIDER MESSI MOVE

Manchester City are working out if they would be able to sign Barcelona star Messi without breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, according to ESPN.

The report says the Premier League giants are preparing should Messi become available.

Messi is contracted at Barcelona until 2021, but has been linked with a move.

ROUND-UP

- Also at Barcelona, Ronald Koeman is preparing his rebuild. Mundo Deportivo reports the club no longer want Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal or Samuel Umtiti, but have plans for Philippe Coutinho, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. The report also says Suarez's departure will open up a move for Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

- Ansu Fati is seemingly close to committing his future to Barcelona. The 17-year-old forward, who has been linked to Manchester United, will sign a new deal that will include a €400million release clause, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- A former Bianconeri striker could help Juventus land Edin Dzeko. Tuttosport reports Mario Mandzukic could join Roma as a replacement for Dzeko, who is being linked to Juve.

- Milan are reportedly looking at Brahim Diaz. Fabrizio Romano reports the Serie A giants have opened talks with Real Madrid about a loan move, with an option to buy, for Brahim.

- Hector Bellerin has been linked with a move away from Arsenal. RMC Sport reports the defender has been offered to Paris Saint-Germain.

- Also at PSG, Leandro Paredes could make a move. Gianluca Di Marzio says Juventus are interested in the midfielder.

Philippe Coutinho is unsure what his future holds ahead of his return to Barcelona from Bayern Munich.

Coutinho completed his loan spell at Bayern by winning the Champions League title after a 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the final on Sunday.

The Brazil international is expected to make a permanent move from Barcelona this close season, the former Liverpool star linked with a return to the Premier League.

Coutinho, who came off the bench against PSG, said he was eager for a strong 2020-21 season – but he is unsure where that will be.

"I haven't thought about this. I have to go back and I want to work hard to have a great year," he told Movistar+.

"I don't know if [it will be] in Barcelona."

As Barca finished 2019-20 trophy-less, Coutinho won a treble at Bayern, who crushed the LaLiga giants 8-2 in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Coutinho scored a brace in that game and also came off the bench against PSG as Kingsley Coman's second-half header was enough in the final.

It meant PSG were denied a maiden Champions League title, but Coutinho still had praise for his international team-mate Neymar.

"I told him that he had a great season and he is going to fight for this and to be the best in the world," he said.

Bayern Munich attacker Philippe Coutinho insisted he was "fully focused" on the Champions League amid talk about his future.

Coutinho will make his final appearance for Bayern against Paris Saint-Germain in the decider on Sunday before returning to parent club Barcelona.

However, the Brazil international is expected to make a permanent move from Barcelona, linked with a switch to Arsenal.

But Coutinho, who arrived at Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018, said his focus was on the Champions League final.

"My mind is fully focused on the competition," the playmaker told Esporte Interativo.

"It's a unique opportunity for us. I'm very happy to be in the Champions League final.

"On my future, I haven't thought about it because I'm only thinking about the final."

Coutinho has scored 11 goals and provided nine assists in 37 games in all competitions for Bayern in 2019-20.

Ronald Koeman refused to be drawn over the future of Philippe Coutinho but did reveal Frenkie de Jong will be key to a new-look Barcelona.

Coutinho remains the LaLiga club's record signing but has struggled to live up to expectations following his big-money move from Liverpool, leading to him going on loan to Bayern Munich.

That season-long deal came back to haunt Barca in the Champions League, however, as the Brazilian scored Bayern's final two goals in the 8-2 quarter-final rout that led to the sacking of Quique Setien.

Koeman was confirmed in the job on Wednesday, the Dutchman handed the difficult task of overseeing a major overhaul at Camp Nou.

As it stands, Coutinho is set to return ahead of the 2020-21 season and while heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, the 28-year-old could still be part of the new coach's plans.

"He is a Barcelona player and if decisions have to be made, we will make them," Koeman said at a press conference when asked about Coutinho.

"Now I have more time to get to know the young people out there. It is a time to give young people possibilities. We have no doubts about putting young people in when they deserve it.

"You have to have a balance between experience and youth. We have to play with more intensity."

While Koeman refused to commit one way or the other over Coutinho, he left no doubt over De Jong's status ahead of the expected rebuild.

The former Netherlands boss knows all about his compatriot from their time together with the national team, with the plan seemingly for De Jong to revert to the position he excelled in with Ajax.

A move to a more deep-lying role in midfield for the 23-year-old would come at the expense of Sergio Busquets, who may find himself pushed out of contention amid the changes.

"For a player who comes to Barca, his first year is always complicated," Koeman said of De Jong. "The positive thing is that he has played many games.

"He has not played in his position. For me, the most important thing is to find the position in which the players sit more comfortable. If you get it, they get the best performance."

Barca had two different coaches in charge across a disappointing 2019-20 campaign, Setien having been appointed in January following the departure of Ernesto Valverde.

They did sit top of the table in Spain upon the restart following the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic, yet ended up finishing second to rivals Real Madrid.

For the Barcelona players and staff, there was nowhere to hide in the glare of the Estadio da Luz. 

An unprecedented, unmitigated, humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Friday laid bare the serious malfunctioning of one of the world's grandest clubs. 

President Josep Maria Bartomeu has already confirmed that "announcements will be made" next week, likely beginning with the future of coach Quique Setien, but Barca's problems run far deeper, from the boardroom to the dressing room. 

"Nobody is safe," said Gerard Pique after the match. "It is not the first time, the second time or the third time, it's very tough. I hope it is useful for something." 

The defender needs nobody to tell him that significant changes must be made at Camp Nou and he himself offered to leave for the good of the club. Ironically, such a public admission suggests he is the kind of character Barca need to keep. 

Who, then, are the people who should go if Barca are to become great again? 

THE BOARD

Josep Maria Bartomeu

The buck stops with the president. Bartomeu survived those infamous nights in Rome and Liverpool, but Lisbon must surely be the beginning of the end for a man who has presided over a wretched, expensive decline. Victor Font is presently the only rival candidate for the 2021 elections, if we get there.

Javier Bordas

Bordas is the director in charge of the football first team at Barca and, regardless of the presidency, it is only right that a new figurehead is put in place to oversee the rebuild.

THE EXECUTIVES

Eric Abidal

Barca's first-team technical secretary came under pressure after a public falling-out with Lionel Messi this year, and his job now looks untenable.  It's essential Barca appoint someone who can repair the damaged relations between the board and the players. Carles Puyol has been touted as a good candidate for the role, including by Messi. 

Oscar Grau

As CEO, Grau is the beating heart of Barcelona's operations and he cannot escape blame for the way the football project has been run in recent years. Speculation has seen Sevilla's Monchi linked with the role.

THE COACHES

Quique Setien

The problems ran deeper than Ernesto Valverde and sacking his successor will likewise not solve everything, but watching him lean against the Luz dugout, silent and stewing, made it abundantly clear that he cannot fix this team. Mauricio Pochettino is available and, despite past reservations, he seems willing to put aside his Espanyol loyalty.

Eder Sarabia

Setien's assistant would almost certainly follow him out of the door. Sarabia looks to have struggled to get the players to buy into the boss' demands and it would not make much sense to stay.

THE SQUAD

Martin Braithwaite

Barca were given special dispensation to sign Braithwaite from Leganes due to injury, while Leganes were denied the same option. They were relegated, Barca's season ended in infamy, and Braithwaite was not even eligible to play. West Ham are apparently interested.

Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho came off the bench to score twice and assist another for Bayern against Barca, the Catalans having loaned out their €140million-plus man after becoming unconvinced by his form. You'd struggle to imagine a more damning visual indictment of Barca's transfer policy.

The coronavirus pandemic has hampered spending across the continent, but any moderate fee for the Brazilian would help Barca to build for the future.

Rafinha

Rafinha has played eight league games in three years for Barca, spending most of that time on loan at Inter and Celta. Now 27, it's time they cash in. Everton and Wolves have been linked. 

Ivan Rakitic

Unfairly maligned by a section of the fanbase, Rakitic has probably reached the point where a move is in everyone's best interests. He has declined since helping Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final and, despite insisting he will stay, a return to Sevilla would ease the burden on the Barca wage bill and help to bring down the squad's average age.

Nelson Semedo

Right-back has been a problem position since Dani Alves left in 2015, and Semedo's performance against Bayern made it clear that he is not the long-term solution. Manchester City had been linked, although Pep Guardiola will surely have been put off by Friday's viewing.

Jean-Clair Todibo

He's only 20 and has played four times in LaLiga, but selling Todibo would be a simple way for Barca to raise desperately needed funds. Schalke, who signed him on loan in January, had a €25m purchase option.

Samuel Umtiti

Barca were terrified of losing the centre-back in the wake of Neymar's Paris Saint-Germain move, with Umtiti's release clause at just €60m. Since that buyout price was increased to €500m, Umtiti has been undermined by injuries, inconsistency and coaching changes at Camp Nou, but he could still command a decent fee.

Arturo Vidal

One of the few players who has impressed under Setien, Vidal is 33 and should not really be part of the Barca rebuild. His contract is up next year, so now is the time to sell to earn even a small fee.

Moussa Wague

Nice chose not to activate their purchase option on the full-back, but he remains a sellable asset for Barca, who are unlikely to use him in the first team next season.

Philippe Coutinho wants to return to the Premier League after his Bayern Munich loan finishes but could yet remain with parent club Barcelona, according to his agent Kia Joorabchian.

Coutinho left England for Barca in 2018 having spent five years with Liverpool, with the Catalans bringing him in to help alleviate the loss of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain the previous year.

The move did not work out, with his first full season at Camp Nou marred by poor form, which in turn led to jeers and criticism from Barca fans.

He left for Bayern on loan last year, with the German champions given the option to purchase him for €120million, but having only made 15 Bundesliga starts in 2019-20, it came as little surprise when club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed in May that they let the clause expire.

Coutinho does not appear to have a future at Barca, while several English clubs have been credited with an interest, though Joorabchian says no decisions have been made.

"At the moment, with Coutinho, he is so focused on getting through the next stage of the Champions League," the agent told TalkSPORT.

"He has got a massive game - the club that owns him against the club he is playing for. So, he is in a massive situation at the moment.

"He is going to play Barcelona, he is looking forward to it. He is looking forward to winning the Champions League. I think they [Bayern] have a side that has the potential to be there, definitely a potential to be there.

"And I think after the Champions League is finished, and whatever happens, then we will sit down.

"I haven't even spoken to him about it actually. It could be that Barcelona is the ultimate destination.

"He loves the Premier League, he wants to come to the Premier League, but finances and the numbers and the situation of COVID-19 are all going to play a big part, because he is a big player with big numbers."

Philippe Coutinho's move to Arsenal is seemingly getting close.

The Brazil international has been on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona in 2019-20, but is expected to leave Camp Nou permanently.

A return to the Premier League has been mooted.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL DEAL FOR COUTINHO IS 'ADVANCED'

A deal sending Coutinho to Arsenal from Barcelona is "more advanced", according to Sport.

The former Liverpool star would head back to England less than three years after leaving Anfield.

Coutinho has scored nine goals in 34 games for Bayern in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- There could be good news coming for Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo reports Marc-Andre ter Stegen has agreed to extend his deal at the club for five years, but there is still no financial agreement between the parties.

- Jerome Boateng's Bayern Munich future seems uncertain. Sport Bild reports the Bundesliga champions want to sell the defender, who would like to extend his contract beyond 2021.

- Takefusa Kubo looks set for another loan spell away from Real Madrid. AS reports Kubo will join Villarreal on loan for 2020-21, having spent this season at Mallorca.

- Are Liverpool looking for a back-up for Andy Robertson? The Athletic reports the Premier League champions value left-back Jamal Lewis at £10million, but Norwich City will not even enter talks for less than £20m.

- Contracted at Manchester United until 2022, Tahith Chong could be heading elsewhere to gain experience. Sport Bild says Werder Bremen are in talks with United over a loan deal for the attacker.

- After losing the Championship play-off final, Brentford may also see a star depart. The Guardian reports Crystal Palace are battling with Aston Villa to sign Ollie Watkins, who scored 26 goals in 49 Championship games in 2019-20.

Philippe Coutinho has reportedly been offered to two Premier League clubs, while Manchester City are eyeing Sergi Roberto.

Coutinho is expected to leave Barcelona on a permanent deal this close season.

A return to the Premier League has been mooted for the playmaker, and it could be getting closer.

 

TOP STORY – COUTINHO OFFERED TO TWO PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS

Coutinho has been offered to both Arsenal and Tottenham, according to The Independent.

The report says Arsenal look the more likely to complete a deal for the Brazil international.

Coutinho has been on loan at Bayern Munich this season, having struggled since arriving at Barcelona from Liverpool in 2018.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City are linked with a surprise deal. Sport reports the Premier League giants are interested in Barcelona's Sergi Roberto, who wants to remain at Camp Nou.

- Out of contract next year, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with a move from Arsenal. The Daily Mail reports Chelsea, who face Arsenal in the FA Cup final on Saturday, were sounded out about a move for the forward in January.

- Inter continue to be linked with a move for Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Serie A giants are offering star defender Milan Skriniar to Spurs in their bid to land Ndombele.

- After struggling at Manchester City, John Stones is reportedly set for a move. The Sun reports the defender is poised for a £20million move to West Ham, where he would reunite with former Everton manager David Moyes.

- Sami Khedira's time at Juventus could be over. CalcioMercato reports Juve are negotiating to terminate the midfielder's contract.

- Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon, who has been on loan at Sevilla, is attracting plenty of interest. Sky Sports says Everton lead the race for Reguilon after submitting a bid of £18million (€20m).

Luis Suarez is eager to stay at Barcelona amid MLS interest, while Chelsea may have a choice to make.

Suarez, 33, is out of contract at the LaLiga giants next year and has been linked with a move away.

The forward seemingly has options.

 

TOP STORY – SUAREZ WANTS BARCELONA STAY AMID INTER MIAMI INTEREST

Suarez has no intention of leaving Barcelona, according to Sport.

It comes after Mundo Deportivo reported Suarez has an offer from MLS club Inter Miami, but wants to extend his stay at Barca beyond 2021.

Suarez has scored 19 goals in 34 games in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea are linked with further moves this close season. But Sport Bild reports Atletico Madrid are relaxed over the Premier League club's interest in Jan Oblak, with the LaLiga side doubting Chelsea can afford both the goalkeeper and Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz.

- Philippe Coutinho is expected to make a permanent move from Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo claims Arsenal are best-placed to land the playmaker and Barca want only money for the Brazil international.

- Bayern Munich have set their price for Thiago Alcantara, who is linked with a move to Liverpool. Sport Bild says the Bundesliga champions want £27.2m (€30m) for the midfielder.

- Could Manchester City have received a transfer boost? Sport Bild reports David Alaba's contract talks with Bayern Munich are at a stalemate. Alaba is out of contract at Bayern next year and has been linked to City.

- Jesse Lingard's time at Manchester United could be over. The Daily Mail says United are prepared to sell the midfielder, who has been linked to Roma and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Willian has received concrete offers from five teams including two in the Premier League, according to the Chelsea winger's agent.

Willian's contract expires at the end of the season and the Brazil international has been unable to reach an agreement over an extension.

Arsenal are among the sides rumoured to be interested, with the player said to be keen to stay in London.

There has been speculation Willian has changed his mind about holding out for a three-year deal and would now be prepared to sign a two-year extension at Stamford Bridge.

However, Kia Joorabchian says there has been no such change in his thinking and two clubs from England, two from elsewhere in Europe and one from MLS want to sign the 31-year-old,

"I don't think he's done a U-turn or any kind of turn," Joorabchian told talkSPORT. "He's always been very much [in] the same mode.

"We had two very big offers – one from MLS, which required him to move on July 1 – but he's always been in the same mode, saying, 'I want to finish the season at Chelsea and the day after the season has finished I will make my decision'.

"He has two concrete offers from Premier League clubs on the table, he has an MLS offer on the table, which is very big, and he's got two other offers in Europe.

"So, Willian is in a very good position and he is going to make his decision after the last game of the season."

Chelsea face Arsenal in the FA Cup final on August 1, with their final game of 2019-20 likely to be the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich, unless they can overturn a 3-0 deficit at the Allianz Arena.

Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at Bayern from Barcelona, is another of Joorabchian's clients whose future is uncertain, although it appears a move back to England could be on the cards.

"After the Champions League, it's not been a secret that he wants to come back to the Premier League if he can; he loves playing in the Premier League and is adored in the Premier League," he said.

"It is one of his priorities… but he is also not against staying at Barcelona, so it is very much open.

"There is much genuine interest in Philippe because he is a great player and a big success. There is always interest."

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