​Oh no. No, no, no, no. Not this again.


After first being linked to Chelsea in 2019 as perhaps the worst Eden Hazard replacement of all time, unwanted Barcelona attacker Philippe Coutinho has once again been​ linked with a summer switch to Stamford Bridge.


Sigh.

Right, let's start with some positives. 


​Chelsea will need wingers this summer, with both ​Pedro and ​Willian likely to depart once their contracts expire at the end of the season. That would leave just Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and half-winger Hakim Ziyech, who is set to join ahead of next season.


The fact that the club have been linked with a new winger is good. It shows that officials recognise the need for a new signing. 


But that's where the positives end.

The issue with any potential deal for Coutinho is the price. He earns a huge wage and was a £142m signing just two years ago, so bringing him in is always going to be a pretty hefty operation.


It's thought that ​Barcelona are now looking for 'just' £82m to let him walk, which is still massive. After all, this is a guy who stunk up Camp Nou for two years and has looked no more than decent during his time with ​Bayern Munich.


Eight goals and six assists this season is fine. It's very fine. Having a player with those numbers in your team is a good thing, but not if it has cost you £82m. 

The tricky thing with Coutinho is that his numbers from his best season with ​Liverpool weren't even that good. He finished the 2016/17 campaign with 14 goals and nine assists in 36 games, which is obviously solid, but that's never worth £142m.


While he is technically fantastic and great to watch, was he over-hyped by Liverpool fans, or did Barcelona go too hard for the player they felt was destined to star at the club? 


That price tag has effectively cost him years of his career, and Chelsea cannot afford to be the ones who fall for the trap of shelling out for him. The Blues shouldn't have to pay for Barcelona's mistake. They've got other business to attend to, so a permanent move is never happening.

So, now we come to the idea of a loan - probably the most likely scenario for Coutinho whatever happens. To cover his salary, it would cost Chelsea close to £27.5m, but that's hardly much better.


If he's as average as expected, then it's £27.5m down the drain. Even if he's good, he's going to be leaving after just one year, so what's the point? It's not like Chelsea are going to pay £82m for a player who will be 29 in June 2021.


With Chelsea looking to move in a younger direction, Coutinho just doesn't fit at all. He's a 27-year-old whose best years are behind him, and he would only ever take minutes away from Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic.


Even if you wanted to shift Coutinho into midfield, is he going to start over ​Mateo KovačićJorginho, Mason Mount or ​Ruben Loftus-Cheek? Maybe, but at what cost to their budding careers?

There just isn't a place for him - especially given how much it would cost to get him.


The cost of it all would likely stop Chelsea getting a new winger. The already unlikely Jadon Sancho deal would be impossible, and there would be no reunion with Jeremie Boga either. 


Both those players would fit in perfectly at Stamford Bridge, but Coutinho would stick out like a sore thumb. Chelsea need to avoid him at all costs.


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