Leicester City are ‘most interested’ in signing Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho during this summer’s transfer window, Spanish publication Sport reports.
The Foxes missed out on the Champions League for a second season running last term after a disappointing 4-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on the final matchday.
Despite this, there has been good progress made, and the club have already shown transfer ambition with the signings of Patson Daka and Boubakary Soumare.
They have regularly been linked with Coutinho’s services over the past few months, and it is now reported that they are ‘most interested’ in landing the Brazil international.
A permanent transfer does not appear on the cards. A loan deal would be dependent on whether Coutinho accepts a significant pay cut on his £240,000-a-week wages.
He has just returned from knee surgery. The Blaugrana are open to offers, but it is claimed that they could wait until January to decide if required.
Coutinho has struggled to nail down a regular starting role since leaving Liverpool for Barcelona, midway through the 2017/18 campaign.
He has a positive loan stint with Bayern Munich in between, but the German champions were reluctant to pay a club-record fee to sign him permanently.
With two years left on his contract, the Blaugrana are aiming to cut their losses on the player, and he could be sold for just £21 million this summer.
There have been no formal offers for him which is unsurprising, given he has just reported for pre-season after seven months out with a knee injury.
The Foxes have bolstered the frontline with highly-rated Daka, but there is room for improvement in the attacking department ahead of next season.
The 64-cap international can play in the number 10 role or out wide. His vast experience in the Premier League could help him adapt quickly with the Foxes.
He has the knack of making regular goalscoring contributions and could be a perfect foil alongside James Maddison and Harvey Barnes in the club’s attack.
A loan deal with an option to buy could be the Foxes’ best solution for Coutinho, given his recent injury record. Coutinho may still need to accept a big pay cut.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com