Chelsea are ‘close’ to sealing Philippe Coutinho transfer as an agreement grows near with Barcelona amid interest from Arsenal, according to the Sun.
The Brazilian left Anfield for Barcelona in January 2018 but failed to live up to expectations and was shipped out on loan to Bayern Munich last summer.
The Blues are hoping to snap up the 27-year-old from the Spanish giants when he returns from his loan spell in the Bundesliga at the end of this season.
Coutinho has nine goals and eight assists in 32 games for Bayern this season but the German champs are unwilling to exercise their £105million option to buy the 27-year-old at the end of his spell.
The former Liverpool ace has been touted across Europe, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United among those interested.
But according to Catalan publication Sport, the Blues are leading the charge and are very close to securing a deal with the Brazilian.
The west Londoners are reportedly locked in talks with Barcelona over the former Liverpool star.
Chelsea previously contacted his agent Kia Joorabchian who has a very good relationship with the club, putting them in pole position above London rivals Arsenal.
The Gunners have been heavily linked with the striker for a while and were “one step away” from a loan deal last summer.
Coutinho is said to be keen on a return to England due to his scintillating form at Anfield before his staggering £142million switch to Barca.
He lasted just 18 months with the Catalan giants, netting 21 goals in 76 appearances – before he was shipped out to Bayern on loan.
His lack of impact at the Nou Camp could see the Reds miss out on a huge chunk of the fee.
The Red Devils have also been keeping tabs on Coutinho but their £100m swoop for Jadon Sancho has put the Brazilian on the back seat.
The Dortmund ace’s move to Old Trafford could help open the door for the Blues to make a move for Coutinho.
SunSports understands the ex-Inter Milan ace is available on another season-long loan, or a deal for around £75m could be struck.
Interested clubs would also only have to pay around half of his £290,000-a-week wages.
Chelsea reportedly have no intention of meeting their asking price and believe Barca’s bid to land Argentina ace Lautaro Martinez, may work in their favour.
Inter plan on receiving the £97.6million release clause in full for their golden boy – meaning Barcelona would have to find ways to stump up the cash.
But Barca coach Quique Setien poured cold water on the transfer speculation by insisting he wants to keep hold of Coutinho – or would only sell him for a premium price.
Most European sides are expecting to see the transfer market dominated by swap deals rather than big transfer fees this summer following the financial uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus crisis.