News Live Scores
Transfers

'We don't know what will happen' - Valverde unsure on Coutinho's future at Barca amid transfer links

08:23 SAST 2019/08/08
PhilippeCoutinho - cropped
The Brazilian has been touted for a loan move away from Camp Nou and the Blaugrana boss is not yet certain of retaining his services

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde believes Philippe Coutinho will remain with the La Liga champions despite conceding that he does "not know what will happen" as exit talk continues to swirl.

Coutinho, 27, has been linked with a return to the Premier League, a year and a half after joining Barca from Liverpool for a reported €114 million ($128m, £105m).

The Brazil international is reportedly a target for Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal, with the transfer window in England due to slam shut at 5 pm on Thursday.

Valverde is far from certain about Coutinho's future, but he thinks the attacker will end up staying at Camp Nou for the upcoming season.

"We do not know what will happen, but Philippe is a player who is with us," he told a news conference after Barca's 2-1 friendly win over Napoli on Wednesday.

"He has not played but the plan we have with him is the same. We'll see if he plays a few minutes on Saturday.

"But he is a player who is with us and we have him, of course. He is with us and we think he will continue with us.

"In all these transfer windows there is talk of many things."

Goals from Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic helped Barcelona to their win over Napoli in Florida.

Antoine Griezmann featured for a half for Barca, but the former Atletico Madrid star is yet to score in four pre-season outings for his new club.

"He has made a great first half, but maybe we have missed playing with some more rhythm," Valverde said of the France forward.

"I had thought he would play at home like Luis [Suarez] and on Saturday he will play again."

Valverde also played down reports linking Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar with a move to Real Madrid.

Neymar has been touted for a sensational return to Camp Nou, but reports on Wednesday said Madrid were lining up a move for the Brazil star.

The Barca boss dismissed the talk as speculation while saying he was ultimately unsure what will happen with Neymar.

"Now it's Madrid and we'll see what happens tomorrow," Valverde added.

"Two years ago he was right here and I had to answer questions from many journalists. Now, they ask me again about him.

"It seems that Neymar is following me. We have nothing to say about players who are on other teams."