A report from Spain has claimed that Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho has informed his club about the potential availability of Chelsea’s forgotten man David Luiz.
As reported by notorious Spanish rumourmongers Don Balón, Coutinho’s Brazil teammate has informed him that he’s ready to move away from Stamford Bridge for the second time, after falling out of favour with manager Antonio Conte.
Luiz has featured just five times for Chelsea since last October, when his performance in the Blues’ 3-0 loss to Roma arguably cost the Blues dearly.
Eyebrows were raised when Conte chose to re-sign Luiz from Paris Saint-Germain at the start of last season, but the tenacious defender returned to west London a changed player, putting in a series of disciplined performances as the Blues stormed to the Premier League title.
With Luiz now seemingly deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea, he could look for a big move abroad this summer. The 30-year-old is a highly experienced player, and his impressive ability on the ball could be suited to Barcelona’s expansive style of play. However, the substance of Don Balon’s reports are unclear, with no actual quote from Coutinho.
In other news, ?Chelsea have reportedly joined Manchester United in the race to sign Roma wing-back Alessandro Florenzi
Atleti President Laughs Off Reports of Deal Agreed With Barcelona & Griezmann Ahead of Weekend Clash
?If anything can be learned from Barcelona’s extended pursuit of former Liverpool talisman Philippe Coutinho, its that Barca get their man in the end.
All signs are pointing to a similar story regarding Atletico Madrid star striker Antoine Griezmann as momentum continues to gather about the Frenchman’s proposed move to Catalonia.
Seven goals in two matches from Griezmann has helped Atleti keep chase with La Liga leaders Barcelona. Atletico will go up against Barca in their next game in which could prove to be a title decider. The sub-plot of this game will be Griezmann playing against his potential suitors, where he will surely aim to put on a show.
Despite all the rumours and speculation, it seems that club president Enrique Cerezo is able to joke amid all the reports that Atleti are set to lose their biggest asset. After previous ?reports claimed that a €100m deal had been agreed with Barca
“The only thing that Griezmann has signed with Barcelona is that he will try to score 3 or 4 goals against them,” joked Cerezo on Radio Marca, as quoted by ?101 Great Goals.
Last summer, it would have cost Barcelona
After last night’s extraordinary four goal haul in Atletico Madrid’s comfortable 4-0 over Leganes, Antoine Griezmann – in his post match interview – ominously addressed his future.
The 26-year-old now has 20 goals in competitions this season, but it is a year which has also come with its drama. Speculation remains rife over Griezmann’s future in Madrid and reports have escalated to claim that ?a deal has been agreed with long term admirers Barcelona.
Griezmann has remained coy about his future until last night, which has caused a strained relationship with the Atleti fans. In February, the striker was spotted shushing his own fans who were jeering him for holding the ball for too long. After the Leganes victory, Griezmann apologised for the gesture, but it came with some foreboding words which hinted at his imminent departure.
Griezmann apologised to fans for recent hushing gesture, but when asked to commit future long term: “Now we are all enjoying ourselves, and hopefully I will have this affection [from the fans] until the end.”
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 28, 2018
??When asked about committing his future to Atletico, Griezmann spoke about the incident with his fans, but failed to divulge what his plans were next summer.
“I am trying to bring joy to the fans,” he said, as quoted by ?ESPN. “I can make mistakes, in things that I say, or telling the fans to be quiet, but not [when playing] out on the pitch.”
Atletico’s next league game is against Barcelona in what could prove to be a title decider. Atleti are four points behind the league leaders, but Barca have a game in hand.
For Griezmann, the game could prove to be an audition for his potential move to Barcelona. What he said next will not fill Atleti fans with much hope of their star striker staying at the club.
“I am very happy and looking to keep going like this. Now we are all enjoying ourselves, and hopefully I will have this affection [from the fans] until the end.”
When ‘the end’ for Griezmann at Atleti is remains anyone’s guess. But if reports and rumours are to be believed, the end could be coming sooner rather than later.
?Thursday night pits La Liga leaders Barcelona against relegation candidates Las Palmas in what is expected to be a routine three points for the Catalan club.
With only a three day gap lying between the Las Palmas trip and Sunday’s crucial encounter with Atletico Madrid (?much to Ernesto Valverde’s dismay), it could be likely that the manager decides to ring the changes from the romping 6-1 win over Girona last weekend.
However, let’s pretend that won’t happen, and take a look at the best potential Barcelona lineup ahead of their midweek match…
?Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has become one of the finest goalkeepers in European football over the last couple of seasons, and as Barca’s dedicated league number one, there’s no doubt he’ll be between the sticks on Thursday evening.
?The one problem for the Blaugrana at present is a make shift back line.
With Jordi Alba suspended for one match following his yellow card against Girona, Lucas Digne is likely to fill in for the Spaniard; and on the right flank, Nelson Semedo’s hamstring injury means Sergi Roberto will probably come into the fold over Aleix Vidal.
While Valverde has admitted that Gerard Pique’s injury against Girona was severe, it’s likely that the commanding centre-half will be given a rest against lesser opposition; instead letting youngster Yerry Mina start against a side not expected to cause too much trouble.
?Valverde’s somewhat backwards step in reverting to 4-4-2 this season has worked wonders for his new squad, and it’s likely that Barca will stick to it against Las Palmas.
Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho are two players relatively new to the team, but both have already proven their worth at Camp Nou this term. Meanwhile, Ivan Rakitic could make way for Andres Iniesta, who was rested at the weekend.
?Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez up top is an obvious choice.
Both players fit perfectly into the ‘world class’ category around Europe, and La Liga’s two leading goalscorers will be desperate to continue their red hot form in front of goal against a side that has been struggling for much of the season.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has voiced his displeasure at his side’s busy schedule this week, complaining about having one less day to prepare for Sunday’s encounter with Atletico Madrid than their opponents.
Thursday night sees Barca travel to Las Palmas before returning home to host Atletico at the weekend, and having only three days between La Liga matches has not gone down well with Valverde.
“This time it’s us who have the long journey and who play a day later than Atletico. It’s not Atletico’s fault – and it could have been the reverse.
“They sometimes have to play in Europe on Thursday and then in the league on Sunday but we’re talking about La Liga here, not two different competitions. Considering the importance of Sunday’s game, [La Liga] should have had it in mind.”
Currently sitting seven points clear of Atletico at the top of the league, Barcelona are prepared for a big match against Diego Simeone’s side but Valverde believes the title race is not over.
One worry for Barcelona fans is the injury to Gerard Pique. The centre half was forced off during ?his side’s 6-1 destruction of Girona at the weekend, but Valverde insists there’s nothing to be concerned about.
“Pique is fine,” he said. “He trained as normal [on Tuesday] and if he’s playing it’s because he’s fit. I had to take him off against Girona, not to do with his knee injury, he took a different knock. A strong knock, but not to do with the injury before.
“If he is fit, then he’s ready to play, there’s nothing strange going on there.”