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‘His heart and affinity is very much with Liverpool’ - Coutinho’s agent hints at possible return to Anfield

22:29 SAST 2019/07/15
Philippe Coutinho Barcelona 2019
The player’s agent has ruled out a move to Manchester United, while also claiming Barcelona do not plan on selling their No.7

Philippe Coutinho's agent has said the Barcelona attacker would not consider a move to any Premier League side other than Liverpool, given his affinity with the Merseyside club.

The Brazilian has been linked with transfers to Manchester United and Chelsea - as well as Liverpool - in recent weeks, but agent Kia Joorabchian believes if Coutinho were to return to the Premier League it only would be to rejoin the Reds.

"Manchester United is a great club, I have players there and I have all the respect for them, but as far as Philippe goes it would be an extremely difficult to a near-impossible move,” Joorabchian told talkSPORT.

"It would be very difficult for Philippe to play for any of Liverpool’s rivals, because he has such a great affinity towards Liverpool. His time there was fantastic. His heart and affinity is very much with Liverpool."

Coutinho spent five years at Liverpool before departing the club in January 2018 for a reported fee of £142 million ($178m), but has struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular at Camp Nou.

While it is a little over 18 months ago that the 27-year departed the Reds, Joorabchian feels that the club’s recuitment in that period may mean there is no place for Coutinho in Jurgen Klopp’s side.

"Liverpool have built a tremendous squad, the manager has a great balance there and it’s probably one of the best run football clubs in the country," he said.

"So with the build-up they’ve done and the squad they have, [signing Coutinho] would really have to be something they would have to decide whether or not they feel there is now a gap in the squad for someone like Philippe.

"Obviously if he were to move back [to the Premier League], it would have to be Liverpool, but at the moment I think it would be difficult and it would be up to them."

Speculation that Coutinho could return to his former employers has increased markedly in recent days, with a report claiming Barcelona may offer Liverpool the chance to sign the former Inter man on a two-year loan.

However, the player’s agent has dismissed these rumours and claims Barca want to keep hold of their record signing.

"I don’t know about those stories," said Joorabchian. "[Josep Maria] Bartomeu [the club president] was very clear with me, saying he doesn’t want the player to leave and he has a future there.

"They made a tremendous effort to bring him over, he is Barcelona’s most expensive signing in history and the second or third most expensive signing in the world.

"As things happen in football, sometimes players feel a bit uncomfortable about somewhere, sometimes it’s the clubs that just don’t quite fit. If that happens obviously we’ll decide what’s best for Philippe, but at the moment we’re being told that’s not happening, it’s fine."